Since it was founded in 2017, the Oregon Desert Land Trust (ODLT), with offices in Bend and Burns, has been conserving and restoring both wild and working private lands throughout Oregon’s high desert country. This diverse and important eco-region spans nearly a quarter of the state.

Working or “resource lands,” as they are sometimes called, are areas outside urban growth boundaries that are home to farming, ranching, and forestry. So far ODLT has helped conserve over 20,000 acres of working private lands from development. Recent acquisitions include a canyon parcel at the confluence of the West Little and mainstem Owyhee River and the Trout Creek Ranch—a working lands property which provides habitat connectivity for plants and wildlife across public and private lands in the Pueblo and Trout Creek Mountains.

The Roundhouse Foundation and ODLT have worked together to help establish restoration projects like one run by the Youth Tribal Stewards and created space for community efforts such as a Rural Fire Protection Association as well as essential wildlife research in the area.

The success of ODLT’s program is based on bringing together diverse stakeholders such as Tribes, landowners, land managers, and local organizations to work together. Bruce Mahall and Kathy Stout of Pitcher Ranch said working with ODLT provided a “win-win-win solution for conserving our land.”

About the Oregon Desert Land Trust

The Oregon Desert Land Trust (ODLT) works on a landscape spanning over ten million acres. Since its founding in 2017, ODLT has worked with Tribes, landowners, land managers and others who care about Oregon’s high desert to conserve and restore wild and working lands for wildlife and people. We are committed to being a good neighbor who contributes to local communities and economies by providing the common ground needed to develop solutions to climate resilience, wildlife connectivity, innovative grazing practices, cultural preservation, and public access across Oregon’s high desert. To date, ODLT has acquired over 20,000 acres of private land and grazing permits spanning 500,000 acres of public lands in areas such as the South Fork of the Crooked River, Brothers, Hart Mountain-Sheldon National Antelope Refuge, Summer Lake State Wildlife Refuge, the Owyhee Canyonlands, and the Trout Creek Ranch and Pueblo Mountains Conservation Project.


Photo caption for featured image: The Pueblo and Trout Creek Mountains are part of the rich heritage of the Northern Paiute people, support the local ranching community, and are increasingly valued for public recreation, including access to the Oregon Desert Trail. (Photo by Mark Darnell)

Published On: January 8th, 2024 / Categories: Featured Grant Stories, Grant News /