Metolius River Preserve

A 30 acre Preserve along the Metolius River near Camp Sherman, Oregon.
  • Guided tours only.
  • No established trails.
  • The Metolius River, mixed-conifer forest, a rare fen.
  • Beautiful river scenery, diverse native plant community, summer wildflowers.


The Land Trust acquired and protected the 30 acre Metolius River Preserve in 2018. The Preserve includes .75 miles of the Metolius River, mixed pine, cedar and spruce forest, a riverside meadow, and a rare fen or wetland. Located near Camp Sherman, OR (see map below) the Preserve is home to a host of wildlife species including returning salmon and sockeye, songbirds, deer, and a variety of trees and unique plants. The Land Trust received the Preserve from The Nature Conservancy, which was gifted the property in the early 1980s by the Erskine B. Wood family. Take our virtual tour or read below to learn more about the property.

 

  • What to See

    The fen at Metolius River Preserve. Photo: Jay Mather.
    The fen at Metolius River Preserve. Photo: Jay Mather.

    The Metolius River Preserve can only be visited on guided Land Trust tours or via hosted educational offerings. When visiting:

    • Learn about the Metolius River: The Preserve protects 3/4 of a mile of the Metolius River along with two river islands. The Metolius River is one of the largest spring-fed rivers in the United States and its flow is clear, cold, and constant. The river provides a wide array of habitat for fish and wildlife and is a designated Wild and Scenic River.

    • Find out about fens: The Metolius River Preserve is home to a rare fen, or wetland. A fen is a type of alkaline wetland that is fed from groundwater. Common along the coast or in subalpine regions, mid-elevation fens are rare and found infrequently throughout Central Oregon. Fens are biological hot spots and are home to a high percentage of rare or uncommon plant species. They also are wet year-round and can remain in the same location for thousands of years. Learn more fun fen facts!

    • Explore native plants: More than 300 species of plants call the Metolius River Preserve home. From forests of pine, cedar, spruce and fir, to the rare Peck’s penstemon to mosses and bog orchids, you can truly explore the botany of the region. Summer is particularly lovely when the Preserve comes alive with bright wildflowers and butterflies.

     

  • Conservation Values


    The Metolius River Preserve protects natural, scenic, educational, and fish and wildlife habitat values. It protects 3/4 mile of the Metolius River including two islands, mixed pine, cedar and spruce forest, a riverside meadow, and a rare fen or wetland. The Preserve is home to a wide variety of animals and plants including the rare Peck's penstemon.

    An island in the Metolius River at the Land Trust's Metolius River Preserve. Photo: Jay Mather.
    An island in the Metolius River at the Land Trust's Metolius River Preserve. Photo: Jay Mather.

     

  • Restoration Activities

    The Land Trust manages the Metolius River Preserve to protect and, where necessary, restore fish and wildlife habitat. We are currently drafting the management plan that will guide conservation and restoration activities at the Preserve. Initial efforts are focused on:

    • Biological inventories. The Land Trust is working to establish initial biological inventories that document the baseline conditions at the Preserve.
    • Managing weeds. Noxious weeds are a reality at all Land Trust protected lands. If they are not actively managed they compromise healthy native plant communities.
    • Long-term planning. The Land Trust is working to develop the management plans that will guide the future of the Preserve. These plans will outline future restoration, as well as educational use.

     

     

  • Know Before You Go

     

    The Metolius River Preserve can only be visited on guided Land Trust tours or via hosted educational offerings. When visiting, please note that the Metolius River Preserve is a rustic nature preserve. There are no established facilities such as trails, toilets, trash removal, or parking. 


    Preserve guidelines

    The Metolius River Preserve can only be visited on guided tours or via other authorized use. All use is conditional upon following these and any other posted rules:

    • Pedestrian travel only.
    • Respect restrictions as posted.
    • Removal or disturbance of plants, wildlife, and historical artifacts is prohibited.
    • Dogs are not allowed.
    • No hunting, camping, campfires, smoking, or unmanned aircraft use.
    • Commercial use, private events and unauthorized public use are prohibited.


    Please note: The Metolius River Preserve is private property owned by Deschutes Land Trust. Your use of the property is conditional upon these and any other posted rules. Preserve users failing to observe posted rules are trespassing and subject to applicable laws and penalties. Visitors to the Preserve may encounter risks associated with terrain, wildlife, and weather. Please exercise appropriate caution: the Deschutes Land Trust is not liable for injuries to Preserve visitors.

     

  • Maps

    The map below shows the location of the Metolius River Preserve. The Metolius River Preserve can only be visited on guided Land Trust tours or via hosted educational offerings.

     

  • Cultural History


    Fishing is a favorite pastime on the Metolius River. Photo: Jay Mather.
    Fishing is a favorite pastime on the Metolius River. Photo: Jay Mather.
    Native Americans were the first people to travel to and visit the lands along the Metolius River. They inhabited this landscape for thousands of years, referring to the river as Myp-to-lyss, or stinking river, in reference to the smell generated by salmon spawning grounds near its headwaters.


    The first record of Europeans in the Metolius came in December of 1843 when General John Fremont forded the river less than a mile from the Preserve, a site now occupied by the Pioneer Ford campground. The area was surveyed in 1873, and in 1915 Charles W. Allen and his family came to live on what is now the south end of the Preserve. Allen built a small cabin, a barn and a bridge for access. They raised pigs and chickens and grazed cows and horses in the meadow which they irrigated with water channeled from Wizard Fall's Spring.


    The Allens augmented their income by providing lodging for fisherpeople that came to the Metolius. The Erskine B. Wood family enjoyed the Allen's hospitality on many occasions. In 1920 the Woods purchased the land from the Allens. The Wood family spent a great deal of time enjoying the property over the years. The Preserve was eventually donated to the Nature Conservancy by the Erskine B. Wood family in a series of gifts in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The Deschutes Land Trust received the property from the Nature Conservancy in 2018.