The Deschutes Land Trust has announced a three-year, $15 million campaign to complete its core conservation strategy for central Oregon's Whychus Creek, which flows off the Middle Sister volcano, past the town of Sisters and into the Deschutes River.
The first phase of the campaign is complete, according to a news release announcing the campaign, with acquisition and permanent conservation of 480 additional acres that more than doubles the size of the Land Trust's Whychus Canyon Preserve. It also protects critical fish and wildlife habitat.
The trust's campaign for Whychus Creek has three goals:
First, the campaign will allow the land trust to strategically conserve the remaining high-priority habitats on Whychus Creek, protecting essential habitat for wildlife.
Second, the campaign will ensure permanent stewardship of these protected lands so they can be restored to health.
And third, the campaign will help the land trust provide new recreational access and expanded community learning opportunities along Whychus Creek. (Read the blogger's story about the preserve: "Whychus Canyon Preserve near Sisters offers new winter hiking opportunity.”)
The land trust will raise funds from the local community, which will help leverage agency and foundation funding.
"The land trust has been conserving the best of Central Oregon for nearly 20 years. Together we've accomplished so much and now can see the finish line for Whychus Creek. Whychus Creek is a Central Oregon success story and with so much momentum, now is the time to complete key acquisitions along the creek. With the community's support, we can connect the dots and create a legacy for our children and our grandchildren," said Brad Chalfant, Deschutes Land Trust executive director, in a statement issued by the trust.
The land trust's first phase of the campaign for Whychus Creek was the purchase of 480 additional acres on Whychus Creek. This purchase protects another two miles of Whychus Creek and secures important habitat for salmon and steelhead, deer and elk, eagles and songbirds.
The newly expanded Whychus Canyon Preserve also offers public hiking access to Whychus Creek. The land trust is currently developing plans for enhancement of fish and wildlife habitat and providing appropriate educational and recreational use on the new portion of Whychus Canyon Preserve.
The addition will remain closed until next spring, when initial trail planning and construction will be complete. Public access to the preserve will remain at the Whychus Canyon Preserve kiosk off of Goodrich Rd.
Funding for the 480-acre addition to Whychus Canyon Preserve came from a variety of agencies, foundations and individuals, including: Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Pelton-Round Butte Mitigation Fund, Ann & Bill Swindells Charitable Trust, James H. Stanard Foundation, Laird Norton Family Foundation, and Roundhouse Foundation.
The Deschutes Land Trust conserves land for wildlife, scenic views and local communities. The Deschutes Land Trust has protected more than 8,700 acres since 1995. For information on the trust, call 541-330-0017 or visit deschuteslandtrust.org.
Whychus Creek was renamed from Squaw Creek in 2006.