Deschutes Land Trust, Priday Ranch forge agreement
The Deschutes Land Trust has established a new conservation project on 4,500 acres north of Madras in Jefferson and Wasco counties.
"Priday Ranch is one of the signature properties of Central Oregon, long recognized for its outstanding natural values," said Brad Nye, the Land Trust's conservation director. "It includes 10 miles of steelhead spawning streams, making it important to the survival of Deschutes River wild steelhead. Priday Ranch's rugged topography is also home to nesting golden eagles, mule deer, and Rocky Mountain elk, and will remain an important refuge for plants and animals in a warming climate."
The Land Trust's mission is to work cooperatively with landowners to conserve land for wildlife, scenic views and local communities.
Annan and Marla Priday worked with the Deschutes Land Trust to conserve Priday Ranch.
"We chose to work with the Land Trust because their goals for the land were similar to ours," Annan Priday said. "The main ranch had been part of our family's ranching operations for more than 100 years, and we wanted to keep it intact. We felt the Land Trust valued that history and would build on our efforts to help keep Trout Creek healthy for steelhead."
Priday Ranch contains 10 miles of Trout Creek, Antelope Creek and Ward Creek, as well as rugged canyons and native grasslands.
The Land Trust is working with partners and neighbors to develop a management plan that will guide its long-term stewardship of the private property.
One management priority will be working with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District to maintain and expand their long-term restoration efforts on Trout Creek.
Other immediate priorities include planning for wildfire risks and responses and slowing the spread of noxious weeds. They will also work with the Wasco and Jefferson county planning departments to bring local communities onto the property through guided Walks + Hikes, educational activities with local schools, and other avenues.
Like many Land Trust projects, Priday Ranch is within the lands ceded to the United States by the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation in the 1855 Treaty with the Tribes of Middle Oregon, and the Land Trust will look to involve the Tribes in developing management strategies.
The Land Trust's effort to conserve Priday Ranch is part of its larger goal of identifying, conserving and caring for the land Central Oregon will need over the next 25 years.
"The Land Trust has conserved many amazing places in its first 25 years, but the next 25 years — with climate change and the continued pressure of regional population growth — will require new strategies and a forward-thinking organization to execute them," said Brad Chalfant, the Land Trust's founding director.
The Pelton Round Butte Mitigation Fund, the Pacific Northwest Resilient Landscapes Initiative, and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board provided initial support in conserving Priday Ranch.
The Deschutes Land Trust is Central Oregon's locally based, nationally accredited land trust. Celebrating 25 years of conserving and caring for land in Central Oregon, the Deschutes Land Trust has protected more than 17,523 acres for wildlife, scenic views and local communities.
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