Hikers on the trail. Photo: Mike Running.

Appreciating Central Oregon's Beauty

May 29, 2018 by Jana Hemphill
Here are 5 quick and easy steps to appreciating the natural beauty of Central Oregon in the best possible way.

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There is just something about the beauty of Central Oregon. Maybe it’s the quiet calm while walking through the forests, the awe-inspiring views from volcanic summits, or the soothing sound of rushing creeks and streams. We all recognize it--perhaps it’s the reason we live or visit here--and we take advantage of this beautiful place with a variety of activities. Here are 5 quick and easy steps to appreciating the natural beauty of Central Oregon in the best possible way:

  1. Pack it in, pack it out. This concept has been around for over 20 years, and it’s really easy to follow! Think of the trails and forests as an extension of your backyard. Would you throw an orange peel or banana peel in your front yard and leave it there to decompose? Food that is left behind takes longer to decompose than most people imagine. You might think of it simply as an orange peel, but once it’s tossed on the ground, it becomes trash. Please don’t trash our beautiful places!
  2. Understand Local Rules and Regulations. To maximize your experience in the outdoors, make sure to plan your trip ahead of time so you understand regulations (like where you can camp and if you need a permit to day hike). If you haven’t had a chance to look into these details, go to someone who knows the regulations--the National Forest has offices in Sisters (open Monday-Friday, 8am-4:30pm) and along the Cascade Lakes Highway (click here for hours). You can also find detailed information about Land Trust preserves on our website.
  3. Hikers enjoying the beauty of Central Oregon. Photo: Tyler Roemer.
    Hikers enjoying the beauty of Central Oregon. Photo: Tyler Roemer.
    Respect the Wildlife. We’ve all been there--an amazing animal sighting, and we want to make sure to get photographic evidence that it happened. Please keep your distance, so you don’t change the animal’s behavior. Selfies are fun, but you can have a beautiful photo during another part of your hike and mention your animal sighting in the caption. And trust me, the times I’ve thought myself too slow to get out my camera and decided to simply watch a herd of elk run down a hillside--the memory sticks with me a lot better than when I needed to snap 100 photos of the same scene. Respecting the wildlife also means not feeding them (on purpose or on accident). Human food does not have the same nutritional value for ground squirrels or other animals, causing health problems and disease. It might seem cute to feed small animals and get a photo, but remember--a toddler is cute eating a cookie, but a toddler eating cookies from 10 different people is a bit problematic.
  4. Enjoy the trails and campsites that were put in the forest for you! Please make sure to hike on established trails and camp at existing campsites. If you’re passing someone on a trail, step aside and wait instead of walking next to the trail--that view will still be there for you if you wait 30 seconds! While hiking in a group, remember to walk in a single file line to prevent damaging the trail and the beautiful flowers, grasses, and lichen next to the trail.
  5. Leave things the way you found them. Don’t take souvenirs from the outdoors with you, including rocks, flowers, tree bark, or plants. Don’t add things either, such as cairns, structures, and trenches.


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