By Kim McCarrel
Picture it. A sparkling creek flows past lush meadows and beneath towering Ponderosas. Wildflowers abound, and brilliant fall foliage contrasts vividly with jagged basalt cliffs. Red-winged blackbirds trill among the rushes, golden eagles soar overhead, deer browse on bitterbrush, and fish swim languidly in the current.
It’s the kind of place that renews our energy and spirit. It’s Whychus Creek.
Whychus Creek begins its journey high in the Three Sisters Wilderness, flowing downstream through evergreen forests, bringing water and life to an arid landscape before it finally meets up with the Deschutes River.
For nearly 20 years the Deschutes Land Trust has been working to realize a vision of a restored and revitalized Whychus Creek, a unique resource that, after many years of neglect, can once again be an ecological and social centerpiece of our community.
With tremendous support from its 1,300 members and from the community at large, the Land Trust has conserved 8 miles of Whychus Creek along with 2,200 acres of its surrounding canyons, meadows, and forests. These stretches of the creek have been conserved forever, ensuring they will be there for our children and grandchildren, and for generations to come.
But much more remains to be done to protect and restore the wildlife habitat along the rest of the creek and to create opportunities for the public to explore and experience this spectacular place. Through a thoughtful combination of land conservation, land stewardship, and community engagement, the Land Trust is embarking on a $15M campaign to conserve the remaining high-priority lands along the creek, ensure their permanent care, and continue to connect the community to this iconic area.
The Campaign for Whychus Creek is an opportunity for us all to join together as a community to realize the vision of a restored and revitalized Whychus Creek. Personally, I’d like to know that when future generations are hiking, birding, fishing, or simply enjoying a majestic view of fall color along Whychus Creek, they’ll know that in 2014 the community stepped up to permanently protect this amazing place. They’ll know that Central Oregon’s only locally-based and nationally-accredited Land Trust brought the community together to accomplish something wonderful, something everyone agreed was a good idea, and something that was truly beneficial.
Let’s make the Campaign for Whychus Creek go viral. Spread the word. Tell your friends, your family, and your colleagues. Join the Campaign for Whychus Creek and do something that truly is permanent, something that will positively affect so many people, so many wildflowers, so many salmon and ducks and beavers. Do something you know will leave a legacy for future generations. Together let’s achieve the vision of a permanently protected, healthy, and restored Whychus Creek.