Next event July 19

by: STEPHANIE RODERICK - Tom Brown, Cindy Murray, FANs board president, and Marty Wilson arrive at Steelhead Falls during the Saturday morning hike.On Saturday, the Friends and Neighbors of the Deschutes Canyon Area (FANs) led a hike along the middle of the Deschutes River on Crooked River Ranch.

Hikers started early, meeting at the Steelhead Falls parking lot and began with the first leg to Steelhead Falls, one of the most well-known destinations in Central Oregon. With awesome views of a huge golden eagle's nest to the right on the rocky canyon wall and the river view on the left, it made for an incredible morning trail walk.

Madras City Councilor Tom Brown, although not a member of FANs, joined the hike to "visit with folks" and "educate myself," he said.

Hikers Dave and Diane Roberts (not part of the group) said that they hike the trail "four to five times a week." With the Roberts were their dogs, which were enjoying the river and the chance to jump in, cool off and play.

During the hike, one of the Roberts' dogs alerted hikers to a bird that had fallen from its nest. A kingfisher bird had burrowed its nest into the side of the trail and one of the babies in the nest had fallen out. Eager hikers helped the baby bird back up into its nest and were lucky enough to see a total of four kingfisher babies that day.

by: STEPHANIE RODERICK - Diane and Don Roberts' dog 'Wilson' alerted hikers to the presence of a kingfisher nest, from which a baby bird had fallen.Cindy Murray, president of the FANs Board of Directors, said she had never seen a kingfisher along that trail before, but had always been on the lookout. She was excited to be part of the discovery.

The falls are majestic and peaceful and several hikers and even rock jumpers plunged to the river from the rocks above.

The next leg of the hike was to Walter's Meadow, where hikers ate their lunches and enjoyed a spectacular view.

A round-trip hike of 2.5 miles ended along the meadow trail stream and looped back to the parking area.

FANs will sponsor another hike Saturday, July 19, also through the middle area of the Deschutes River "through a beautiful little setting," said Murray.

During the July 19 hike, participants will have the opportunity to take in a "natural amphitheater, where hikers will see Native American rock painting," Murray said.

Hikers will meet at the end of Riffle Lane, near the southwest side of Crooked River Ranch for a hike that will be about a 90-minute round-trip adventure.

FANs applied for and recently received a $3,000 grant from the American Hikers Association. The grant will fund a native plant restoration project due to begin in October.

Last year's harsh winter conditions caused a lot of erosion to the area, so the grant will help fund "buying seeds, restoring broken railings and planting new plants, some of which have already been purchased and are being stored with one of the members of the board of directors," Murray said.

Also beginning in October, FANs will sponsor a lecture series, hosting "unbelievable speakers," Murray said. Lectures will run on a monthly basis.

The FANs mission statement is: "To preserve and restore the wild landscapes of the Crooked and Deschutes Rivers and Whychus Creek through stewardship, outreach and education; to foster communication with federal and state land management agencies and the surrounding communities."

Founded in 2011 by landowners surrounding the Deschutes Canyon-Steelhead Falls Wilderness Study Area, they came together through their love of the nearby public lands.

If you are interested in becoming a member of FANs, participating in a hike, or assisting in the upcoming restoration project, visit

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