Couple brings photos, tales of Owyhee Canyon to Forest Grove
Author Bonnie J. Olin will offer a special opportunity to take a vicarious journey into one of the most remote areas in the lower 48 states — the Owyhee Canyonlands region of Nevada, Idaho and Oregon — at the Forest Grove Public Library on Tuesday, Jan. 30. The presentation includes a talk, slideshow and movie prepared by Olin and her husband, Mike Quigley.
The Owyhee is a region conjoined by Oregon, Idaho and Nevada, covering an area of about 9 million acres. It is home to one of the largest remaining herds of bighorn sheep, the endangered sage grouse and 28 plants unique to the region. It is a sacred and ancestral home to the Native American community.
Quigley has been exploring the Owyhee region since the mid-1970s and introduced it to Olin in 1993. Together the couple, who live in Junction City, Oregon, have spent the last 25 years exploring the canyons, kayaking the river and hiking the side canyons from river to rim, countless times.
"The canyon geology offers some of the most stunning visual examples of rhyolite formations on earth," says Olin. "It is unlike Bryce, Zion, Canyonlands or the Grand Canyon. Oregonians have a golden opportunity to protect a landscape like no other in the lower 48 states that could easily quality for National Park status for its unique geological beauty. Most importantly, it is public land. It belongs to all of us. And yet the Oregon section of the Owyhee remains unprotected."
Olin began her advocacy with the publication of her book, "The Owhyee River Journals." The book is considered a writing of record, and came to fruition in part because Olin couldn't find a book on the Owyhee that she was looking for: One bursting with full color photos showing all the stems of the river canyon including the most remote regions. She wanted to share the Owyhee she knew, first with friends and family, but eventually with all, to increase awareness of the area in hopes that once people saw the unique beauty of the Canyonlands they might be motivated to help preserve the region.
Photos were critical to her project, and for those she turned to her husband.
Olin said the Oregon Natural Desert Association has a conservation proposal project for parts of the Owyhee, but she feels it is crucial for Oregonians to see the area and have an understanding of its importance, "in order to make an informed decision about the future of one of our nation's most important natural wonders."
Her presentation includes a talk, a slideshow and a film, which take audiences on a vicarious journey deep into the Owyhee Canyonlands, from Nevada through Idaho and Oregon. Handouts of detailed information on ONDA's conservation proposal and recreational opportunities of the area will be available at the event.
"The Owyhee River Journals" includes an abundance of photographs which feature the entire river system and reveal the magnificent beauty of the inner canyon corridor.
The film titled "Deep Creek and the Owyhee River" is a story of an expedition into the Owyhee Canyon by inflatable kayaks in 2006, beginning on a tributary of the East Fork of the Owyhee River in Idaho, continuing on the East Fork and ending at Three Forks in Oregon.
Olin says it is "a view of the upper regions of the Owyhee River that few people see, and helps to understand the significance of this last hidden jewel of the West."
Books will be available for $35. The presentation DVD, which includes the slideshow and film, sells for $15.
Those unable to attend either event can purchase both materials and learn more online at owyheemedia.com.
"I just like to give information to help people make informed decisions," Olin says.
The Forest Grove Library is located at 2114 Pacific Ave. Olin's presentation starts at 6:30 p.m. There is no cost to attend.