Priday Ranch

A 4,500 acre conservation project near Madras, Oregon.
  • Private property; not open to the public.
  • No trails or facilities.
  • Rugged canyons, Trout Creek, native grasslands.
  • Steelhead, beaver, outstanding scenery.

 

The Land Trust protected the 4,500 acre Priday Ranch in 2020. Priday Ranch contains ten miles of Trout Creek, Antelope Creek, and Ward Creek, rugged canyons, and native grasslands. The property is located north of Madras, Oregon (see map below) and is home to numerous wildlife species including steelhead, nesting golden eagles, mule deer, Rocky Mountain elk, and beaver. Take our virtual tour or read below to learn more about the property.

  • Highlights

    Priday Ranch is not open to the public. Conservation highlights include:

    • Steelhead stronghold:
      Hedgehog cactus. Photo: Eli Egertson.
      Hedgehog cactus. Photo: Eli Egertson.
      Trout Creek is a stronghold for Deschutes River steelhead, providing as much as 25% of the entire Deschutes River’s steelhead production. In a high return year, as many as 350 steelhead may spawn in the 10 miles of creek on Priday Ranch, while the shaded environs of Degner Canyon support young steelhead as they prepare for their long journey to the Pacific Ocean.

    • Outstanding natural resources: Priday Ranch’s rugged canyons, streamside meadows, and rolling grasslands provide a variety of habitats for native plants and wildlife. Golden eagles nest in canyon cliffs, mule deer and Rocky Mountain elk find forage and cover, and more than 80 beaver dams and lodges can be found on site. Populations of the rare hedgehog cactus (Pediocactus simpsonii) are scattered along the canyon rim, and willow and alder line the banks of several creeks.

    • Climate strength: Priday Ranch is an important refuge for a warming climate. Diverse natural features and strong connections to surrounding undeveloped lands mean the property will continue to provide habitat value to wildlife in the future. Scientists call this strength “resilience” and we will need more and more resilient lands as our climate warms. Learn more about resilience. Priday Ranch is also a featured climate project in the Land Trust Alliance’s Pacific Northwest Resilient Landscapes Initiative.
  • Conservation Values

    Steelhead. Photo: Brian O'Keefe.
    Steelhead. Photo: Brian O'Keefe.
    Priday Ranch protects 10 miles of Trout Creek, Antelope Creek, and Ward Creek. Trout Creek is an important spawning area for the Deschutes River steelhead population. These creeks also provide habitat for a host of species that rely on water in our arid climate. The property has a long history of stream restoration projects on Trout and Antelope Creeks which have resulted in tremendous habitat gains for fish and wildlife. Priday Ranch also protects sagebrush-steppe and grassland areas which provide habitat for native birds, deer, elk, and other animals. Finally, Priday Ranch is an important refuge for a warming climate. Diverse natural features and strong connections to surrounding undeveloped lands mean the property will continue to provide habitat value to wildlife as our climate warms.

     

  • Restoration Activities

    The Land Trust manages Priday Ranch to protect and, where necessary, restore fish and wildlife habitat. We are currently working to draft the management plans that will guide restoration activities at the property. Initial efforts are focused on:

    • Mitigating Fire Danger.
      Beaver activity along Trout Creek. Photo: Land Trust.
      Beaver activity along Trout Creek. Photo: Land Trust.
      Priday Ranch is located in a very fire-prone part of our region. The Land Trust is working with our neighbors to mitigate fire danger.
    • Biological inventories. The Land Trust is working to establish initial biological inventories that document the baseline conditions at the property.
    • 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 create the management plans that will guide the future of the property. These plans will outline future restoration, as well as potential educational use.

     


     

  • Maps

    The map below shows the location of Priday Ranch. Priday Ranch is closed to the public.

  • 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. Priday 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 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.

    Marla and Annan Priday. Provided photo.
    Marla and Annan Priday. Provided photo.
    The first Euro-Americans began to arrive in Central Oregon in the 1800s as trappers, explorers, and survey crews began mapping the region. In 1843 westward migration began along the Oregon Trail as the federal government forcibly resettled Native Americans and offered western lands to Euro-Americans.

    The land that is now known as Priday Ranch has been held by the Priday family since 1881, when Albert J. Priday settled near the confluence of Antelope and Trout Creeks. Albert’s great-grandson, Annan Priday, worked with the Land Trust to conserve Priday Ranch forever.

  • Special Thanks

    The Land Trust would like to thank the Priday Family, the Pelton Round Butte Mitigation Fund, the Pacific Northwest Resilient Landscapes Initiative, and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board for their support in conserving Priday Ranch forever.