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Deschutes Basin Land Conservation

In the Deschutes Basin, few organizations have had such an impact on land conservation as the Deschutes Land Trust, a nationally-accredited land trust based in Bend, Oregon. The land trust was established in 1995 and consists of a group of central Oregon residents who share a passion for protecting the unique landscape in the Deschutes Basin. The mission of Deschutes Land Trust is to work cooperatively with landowners to conserve land fr wildlife, scenic views, and local communities.

The Deschutes Land Trust cares for more than 7,200 acres of land in central Oregon. land holdings include Camp Polk Meadow Preserve, a 145-acre riparian area along Whychus Creek, Indian Ford Meadow Preserve near Sisters, the Metolius Preserve, a 1,240-acre forest, and Thomas Preserve, a 7-acre island in the upper Deschutes River. These lands are made available to visitors for the purposes of recreation and enjoyment.

Current projects for the land trust include protecting Whispering Star Ranch, a 440-acre property on Whycus Creek near Sisters, Oregon. The ranch supports high-qualty grasslands, old growth stands of juniper, and a variety of wildlife species. The trust is currently working to raise funds to purchase the ranch and convert it to a Community Preserve. The land trust is optimistic that the stretch of creek within the ranch boundaries will support the reintroduction of steelhead and spring Chinook salmon, which have faced challenges to their migration in that area.

The Deschutes Land Trust also works with private landowners who wish to conserve their own land through sale, the use of conservation easements, or land donation.


Authored by Caitlin Bell, Staff, Oregon Explorer