Stories From The Metolius River Basin: A Historic Victory

A fierce champion for the protection of Oregon's land and resources, Governor Tom McCall left the state a legacy of environmental lawmaking. Appearing before the Land Conservation and Development Commission in 1974, McCall urgently called for the designation of the Metolius area as one of critical state concern - focusing on its importance as a winter range for deer. Though unsuccessful at the time, his proposal launched decades of efforts to preserve the Metolius Basin as one of Oregon's natural treasures and led to its ultimate declaration as an Area of Critical State Concern in 2009.

Photo of Governor McCall / Wikipedia

Photo of Governor McCall / Wikipedia

Since its establishment, Oregon's visionary state land use system has made it possible for Central Oregon LandWatch to defend and protect the Metolius. As a natural treasure, the river's protection is emblematic of our ability to preserve the beauty and integrity of our state for generations to come.


$100 for 100 Years of Protection

Receive a special gift when you give $100 to LandWatch to celebrate 100 years of protection the Metolius River Basin. The beautiful set of 12 postcards tells the inspiring stories of generations of families who have stood up for the future of this special place. Write “Metolius” in your donation note to share the spirit of celebration.


2009: A Historic Victory

This year, we celebrate the 10th anniversary of one of the most important landmarks in the history of the protection of the Metolius - the 2009 designation of the Metolius as Oregon's first and only Area of Critical State Concern (ACSC). The landmark legislation stopped development that threatened the Metolius landscape and it's spring-fed waters. A hard fought win, the effort took years of perseverance and determination by a broad coalition of Central Oregon LandWatch, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Friends of the Metolius, community members and others working together.

Photo of viewpoint at the Headwater of the Metolius River. By Dennis Frates

Photo of viewpoint at the Headwater of the Metolius River. By Dennis Frates

“The Metolius Area of Critical State Concern will be remembered as one of those instances when a broad array of people from all walks of life came together to ask their legislators to make a tough decision, and the legislature responded. As a result of this bill, the people of Oregon and their children always will be able to visit this beautiful place and see the remarkable wonders that renew the spirit of us all.”
— - Governor Ted Kulongoski, July 15. 2009