Top 25 Deschutes Land Trust Moments

Sep 03, 2020
This year the Land Trust celebrates its 25th Anniversary! To celebrate, we asked founding director Brad Chalfant for his 25 top moments from the last 25 years.


By Brad Chalfant

This year the Land Trust celebrates its 25th Anniversary! In honor of this momentous occasion, we asked founding director Brad Chalfant for his 25 top moments from the last 25 years. Here's what made his list:

  1. April 1995: A small contingent from Central Oregon attends the first Northwest Land Trust Alliance Conference as the “Yet to be Named Land Trust”.

  2. 1996: the Deschutes Basin Land Trust founded and opens first office on NE Division Street in Bend.

  3. 1996: With an assist from the Oregon Community Foundation, Indian Ford Meadow Preserve is donated as our first Land Trust project.

  4. 1998: The Land Trust brokers the acquisition of Alder Springs ranch by the Trust for Public Land and US Forest Service.

  5. 2000:
    Lillian Pitt and Brad Chalfant at River Visions in 2000. Photo: Land Trust
    Lillian Pitt and Brad Chalfant at River Visions in 2000. Photo: Land Trust
    Acclaimed ceramics artist Lillian Pitt headlines our annual fundraiser River Visions & Art, emphasizing the stories and art of Warm Springs.

  6. 2000: Established Camp Polk Meadow Preserve with help from Portland General Electric.

  7. 2000: Protected the Hopkins-Young Special Management Area. Our first working timberland project where the Land Trust was the only entity trusted by both the local environmental community and timber company, Crown Pacific.

  8. 2001: Renowned author Barry Lopez joins us for our annual RiverVision event to share his thoughts on the importance of land conservation in the aftermath of 9/11.

  9. 2002:
    Brad Chalfant celebrates the acquisition of the Metolius Preserve in 2003. Photo: Land Trust.
    Brad Chalfant celebrates the acquisition of the Metolius Preserve in 2003. Photo: Land Trust.
    Facing a hostile takeover, renowned philanthropist and timber executive Bill Swindells calls and offers the Land Trust the opportunity to acquire the Metolius Preserve on generous terms. This launched our first capital campaign and our Back to Home Waters program.

  10. 2002: The Land Trust begins habitat restoration at Camp Polk Meadow Preserve and returns willows to the meadow.

  11. 2005: With Skyline Forest as the vision, the legislature passes the Community Forest Authority Bill and Deschutes County follows suit by authorizing the creation of the country’s first Community Forest Authority.

  12. 2006: Protected Rimrock Ranch with funding from the national Fish and Wildlife Fund (as 1 of 4 such projects funded nationally that year through the Acres for America program).

  13. 2007: Conserved Ranch at the Canyons, protecting Smith Rock State Park.

  14. 2009:
    Pat Cohen and Lisa Bagwell with the boxes of materials required for national accreditation in2009. Photo: Land Trust.
    Pat Cohen and Lisa Bagwell with the boxes of materials required for national accreditation in2009. Photo: Land Trust.
    The Land Trust is awarded national accreditation, one of the first in the country.

  15. 2009: Skyline Forest legislation adopted, which temporarily heads off development of Skyline Forest.

  16. 2010: Established Whychus Canyon Preserve after a small capital campaign. Then in 2014, with special help from longtime supporter Tom Montag, the Preserve is doubled in size for a total of 930 acres protected.

  17. 2011: Spring Creek conserved, protecting a key Metolius salmon spawning area.

  18. 2012: Whychus Creek finally returns to Camp Polk Meadow, following a summer of channel construction, the planting of 180,000 native plants, placement of hundreds logs, and three years of growing.

  19. 2015: Established Aspen Hollow Preserve.

  20. 2016: The Land Trust and restoration partners begin the first phase of a large six-mile stream restoration project at Whychus Canyon Preserve.

  21. 2017: Established Willow Springs Preserve, almost 25 years in the making.

  22. 2017: Established Ochoco Preserve, our first project on the Crooked River in Prineville.

  23. 2018: Acquired the Metolius River Preserve from our partner The Nature Conservancy.

  24. 2019:
    The Land Trust gathers monarch butterflies to march in the Earth Day parade in 2019. Photo: Land Trust.
    The Land Trust gathers monarch butterflies to march in the Earth Day parade in 2019. Photo: Land Trust.
    Launched our Monarch Conservation Program to help the imperiled monarch butterfly, bringing our work to local backyards.

  25. 2020: Protected the first phase of Aspen Valley Ranch, a family-owned ranch near Post, OR.