Here's to the Metolius

The Metolius has always been a place that captures the imagination and stirs the soul. Today is the 10 year anniversary of the designation of the Metolius River as an Area of Statewide Critical Concern.

The Metolius River is Oregon's first and only Area of Critical State Concern (ACSC). This designation has been an authorized tool since Oregon's statewide land use planning system was created in 1973. It identifies an area where potential development conflicts with resources of state importance and establishes a management plan to address those conflicts.   Photo by Bruce Jackson

The Metolius River is Oregon's first and only Area of Critical State Concern (ACSC). This designation has been an authorized tool since Oregon's statewide land use planning system was created in 1973. It identifies an area where potential development conflicts with resources of state importance and establishes a management plan to address those conflicts.

Photo by Bruce Jackson

For thousands of years, Native peoples honored the River as a sacred life force in the dry landscape of the high desert. They gathered plants on its banks, caught salmon in its clear waters, and hunted mule deer in its meadows. Living in balance with nature, they were the original guardians. Their descendants in Warm Springs remain so today.

In the last century, the ancient Ponderosa pines have quietly witnessed many new arrivals. Early settlers and travelers also felt drawn to the special quality of the River and surrounding woods as they made their way west. They built summer cabins and camps, and raised their children and grandchildren to admire its beauty. Today, people travel from all over the world to explore and enjoy this natural treasure.

Yet the Metolius also has another history.

From the early 1900s, the Basin has been under constant threat from logging and development. It has taken the perseverance and determination of its original guardians and community supporters to fight for its preservation.

Photo by Stu Gordon

Photo by Stu Gordon

Time and again, people have come together to protect this unique place. They have blocked timber sales, stopped destination resorts, and advocated passionately to protect the ecosystem and the fish, plants, and animals that live there. For over three decades, Central Oregon Landwatch has been a proud part of this effort.

This year we celebrate the remarkable spirit of this guardianship.