Ochoco Preserve

A 185 acre Preserve along the Crooked River outside of Prineville, Oregon.
  • Guided tours only.
  • Crooked River, McKay and Ochoco Creeks, wetlands.
  • Water birds, songbirds, confluence of two creeks with the Crooked River.


The Land Trust acquired and protected the 185 acre Ochoco Preserve in 2017. The Preserve includes 1 mile of the Crooked River, 1/2 mile of McKay Creek, 1/2 mile of Ochoco Creek, and is located outside of Prineville, Oregon (see map below). Ochoco Preserve is home to a host of wildlife species including salmon and steelhead, a variety of amphibians, and many species of water birds and songbirds. The Land Trust has been working for several years to build a vision for the future of the Preserve. Our vision includes healthy streams, flourishing native plants and wildlife, and new connections for the community. Learn more about the project.

  • What to See

    Beaver activity at Ochoco Preserve. Photo: Land Trust.
    Beaver activity at Ochoco Preserve. Photo: Land Trust.
     

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

    • Explore two creek confluences: Ochoco Preserve protects the confluences of Ochoco Creek and McKay Creek with the Crooked River. Confluences (places where two bodies of water meet) are biological "hot spots" where habitat and wildlife diversity is greater. The Ochoco and McKay creek confluences provide important habitat for a variety of species, including returning Chinook salmon and steelhead.
    • Watch for wildlife: With songbirds nesting along the creeks and waterbirds on the Crooked River and adjacent Crooked River Wetlands Complex, bird watching is always interesting. 
    • Learn more about Ochoco Preserve on our blog: Four fun facts about Ochoco Preserve.
  • Conservation Values

    McKay Creek at Ochoco Preserve. Photo: Land Trust.
    McKay Creek at Ochoco Preserve. Photo: Land Trust.

    Ochoco Preserve protects natural, scenic, educational, and fish and wildlife habitat values. It includes 1 mile of the Crooked River, 1/2 mile of Ochoco Creek, and 1/2 mile of McKay Creek, conserving one of the highest value ecological sites on the Crooked River. Ochoco Preserve provides habitat for salmon and steelhead, small mammals, amphibians, and a host of bird species.

    The Preserve is just across the Crooked River from the City of Prineville’s Crooked River Wetlands Complex, a property  which features wetlands, public walking and biking paths, and habitat enhancements along the river. The Crooked River Wetlands Complex is also a popular outdoor education setting for local schools. The Land Trust is working with the City of Prineville to provide complementary educational and access opportunities on Ochoco Preserve.

     

  • Restoration Activities

    The Land Trust manages Ochoco Preserve to protect and, where necessary, restore fish and wildlife habitat. The Land Trust acquired the Preserve in 2017 and current restoration efforts are focused on:

    • Managing weeds. Noxious weeds are a reality throughout Central Oregon. Without active management these weeds can compromise healthy native plant communities. We're managing weed populations along roadsides, irrigation ditches, and our Preserve boundaries to help reduce the spread of weeds within the Preserve and onto neighboring properties.
    • Habitat restoration and community connections. With one mile of the Crooked River, 1/2 mile of McKay Creek, and 1/2 mile of Ochoco Creek, Ochoco Preserve has significant potential for restoring habitat for fish and wildlife and connecting the community to the Preserve. Learn more about our vision for the future of Ochoco Preserve.

     

  • Know Before You Go

    Ochoco Preserve can only be visited on guided Land Trust tours or via hosted educational offerings.

     

  • Maps

    The map below shows the location of Ochoco Preserve. Access to Ochoco Preserve is currently limited to guided Land Trust tours and hosted educational offerings. 

     

  • Cultural History


    From time immemorial, Native Americans, including the Warm Springs, Wasco, and Paiute tribes, lived in this region or visited it to hunt, fish, gather foods, and trade. Rimrock Ranch is within the lands ceded to the United States in the Treaty with the Tribes of Middle Oregon in 1855. The bands that signed the 1855 Treaty moved onto to the Warm Springs Reservation and are known as the Wasco and Warm Springs tribes. Paiute people began settling on the Warm Springs Reservation in 1879 and, along with the Wasco and Warm Springs tribes, now comprise the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon. The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, by virtue of the Treaty of 1855, have legal rights to harvest and manage wildlife and, by implication, the right to habitats suitable to support wildlife populations. The Land Trust considers the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs an important partner in management and restoration of the property.

    The first Euro-American explorers, many of them trappers, arrived in the region during the early 1800s. Their journals tell the story of the Crooked River before settlement. Along the rivers and creeks, beaver dams and wetlands were abundant; grasses and willows thrived in rich soils replenished by flood waters; and salmon and steelhead thrived. The first Euro-American settlers arrived in the Ochoco Valley during the 1860s and used the valley for grazing livestock, mainly cattle and sheep. The soil was rich from the annual flooding and the native grasses were naturally irrigated. The early 1900s saw the beginning of irrigation and farming.

    The Deschutes Land Trust established Ochoco Preserve in 2015.