Connecting Wild and Working Lands
Oregon’s high desert holds many tracts of private land that are critical for wildlife habitat, land conservation, cultural preservation and public access. The Oregon Desert Land Trust was established to create opportunities to conserve and restore private lands in the region while also benefitting surrounding public lands. Established by the Oregon Natural Desert Association at the close of 2017, the land trust now operates as an independent organization and has conserved over 3,000 acres since its inception.
Oregon’s high desert, although composed of significant areas of public land, contains tracts of private land that are critical to wildlife habitat connectivity and public lands access. Until now, there was no land trust dedicated to this important area.
Similar to other areas in the West, Oregon’s high desert is experiencing turnover in land ownership that is driven in part by inter-generational shifts. Likewise, the region has witnessed a transition towards more recreation-oriented properties that will eventually drive up land valuation. Now is the time to work to conserve and restore private lands in the region.
The Oregon Desert Land Trust has identified three categories of lands that are strategic for land conservation and habitat connectivity in the region.
Conservation areas prioritized by the largest areas of public lands with the least amount of private inholdings;
Springs, wet meadows and streams due to their significant contributions to fish, wildlife and public use; and
Greater sage-grouse habitat which also provides the foundation for wildlife connectivity and open space in the region.
With support from volunteers with decades of experience in realty, law, business and science, relationships with landowners and knowledge of the region, ODLT is positioned to be a lasting and effective land trust.
The Land Trust has completed several acquisitions totaling over 3,000 acres. These areas will be conserved for wildlife and future generations.
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