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Deschutes Canyon Currents
July 2020
Rock tower above Middle Deschutes River frames Three Sisters Mountains. Photo: Tom Iraci
We work to preserve and restore the wild landscapes of the Middle Deschutes and Lower Crooked Rivers and Lower Whychus Creek through stewardship, outreach and education.
           -FANs of the Deschutes Canyon Area's Mission Statement
Our Commitment to Equity and Inclusion 

Tragic events over the past few months have reinvigorated important and long overdue conversations from coast to coast about racism in America. It is clear the suffering by people of color that has led to this time in history. We hope now we are witnessing a vital change.

Friends and Neighbors of the Deschutes Canyon Area (FANs) board of directors is recommitting itself to expand our outreach to accomplish greater diversity in our program participants, program subjects, membership, and leadership. We view these efforts as an opportunity to accomplish long-standing goals of FANs, but, more importantly, as a pathway to help erode societal biases and their tragic consequences by sharing our love and enjoyment of our part of the public lands that belong to us all.  

With this goal in mind, we are requesting ideas from you, our members, on ways we can continue this work to reach out more effectively to local communities and broaden our own FANs group. The board is steadfast in its mission to ensure that everyone feels invited to experience, enjoy, learn about, and support the public lands under our stewardship. Thank you for your input as we move forward together.

Our Lens on Learning Series Continues Online

"What's Blooming Now in the Riparian Zone?"
A Talk by Marilynne Keyser, FANs President
Saturday, August 1, 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. via Zoom
This presentation is open to the public.
Registration is required to receive the Zoom link to participate.
Please CLICK HERE to register.

Marilynne Keyser, author of Guide to Common Native Plants of the Deschutes Canyon Area, will take participants on a journey through the riparian zone of local rivers and streams that features unique flowering plants requiring moisture in our otherwise arid shrub steppe habitat.

This presentation is open to the public, so please share this with friends that might be interested.

Douglas' spiraea (Spiraea douglasii) grows along the Middle Deschutes River. Photo: Patricia Kirk

Limited Guided Hikes Planned for August - October
Jeff Scheetz,  Friends and Neighbors of the Deschutes Canyon Area Hiking Coordinator

Starting in August, we will offer free guided hikes open to the public, with temporary restrictions to mitigate COVID-19 risks.  We hope to continue guided hikes through October, as weather and air quality permits.   We believe our program meets all current health authority rules and recommendations, but of course these are subject to change.
Space is limited to 8 hikers, including hike leaders, and registration is required. If you are interested in any hike, you can learn more and sign up using the links below. In addition to the conditions listed for each individual hike, participants need to abide by the following COVID-19 safety measures:
  • Hikers need to maintain 6 ft distance between each other.
  • Each hiker must bring their own face mask in case social distancing cannot be maintained when encountering other hikers.
  • Bring hand sanitizer to use in parking lot after hiker sign-in process.
  • Carpooling is limited to partners/family members.
  • Outside of partners/family members, no sharing supplies or equipment.
  • In the event of crowded trail indications, hike leader may opt for a near alternative location for the hike.
  • Hikers should stay home if they are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or if anyone in their household is currently in quarantine or awaiting results of a COVID-19 test. If you do not feel well before the hike, contact the leader as soon as possible to cancel, as we maintain a waitlist.
The Peninsula, Crooked River National Grassland
Wednesday,  August 12, 8:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Rating: Easy (~2.5 miles of fairly flat, easy hiking; 0.5 mile of cross country hiking)
Guide: Eric Hanson, FANs Trail Monitor
This easy hike includes great views of the Lower Crooked River gorge, Middle Deschutes River gorge, historic homestead remnants, wildlife guzzler, wildflowers and a discussion about the past, present and future of this very special and unique landscape.
Learn more and sign up for this hike.
Lookout Mountain Wildflower Hike, Ochoco National Forest
Saturday, August 15, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (includes drive time)
Rating: Moderate, 8 miles
Guide: Marilynne Keyser, FANs President 
This round-trip loop ascends over 1,000 feet through open meadows, stands of beautiful old growth ponderosa and mixed conifer forests. The first 4 miles will be gaining elevation and the second 4 miles will be downhill. The summit is a rocky plateau with sweeping views of the Ochoco Mountains. 
Learn more and sign up for this hike.

Big Summit Prairie Wildflower Hike, Ochoco National Forest
Wednesday, August 19, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (includes drive time)
Rating: Easy, 7 miles
Guide: Marilynne Keyser, FANs President 
Big Summit Prairie occupies several thousand acres of the middle portion of the Ochoco Mountains.  The prairie is privately owned, but most of the perimeter is Ochoco National Forest and easily accessed by public roads.  This will be a drive and hike trip circumnavigating the prairie (ten miles).  We will make at least six stops along FS Road 42, driving in a caravan.
Learn more and sign up for this hike.

Big Falls Ridge Hike
Tuesday, August 25, 8:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Rating: Moderate (4 miles, off-trail)
Guide: Jeff Scheetz, FANs Hiking Coordinator
This area of gently rolling hills accesses the high point of Big Falls Ridge, located northwest of Big Falls on the Deschutes River.  The ridge offers a view of the southwest portion of Crooked River Ranch after a meandering climb of about 300 feet.  There will be some fences to negotiate, as this public land was once grazed. This is a good area to practice backcountry navigation, so you may wish to bring a map, compass, and GPS receiver.
Learn more and sign up for this hike.
This historic feed trough is part of the Peninsula's history. Photo: Eric Hanson

Crooked River National Grassland Nest Box Trail News
Diane Randgaard, Crooked River National Grassland Nest Box Trail Coordinator

Last Active Box this Season Holds Three American Kestrel Chicks

You may recall that we reported finding a female American kestrel with one egg in one of our nest boxes in June.  On a later visit, we found four eggs, and on our most recent July 16 visit, we found three two-day-old chicks.  Don McCartney, who founded the kestrel project 23 years ago, said this is this is the latest group of kestrel chicks that has been reported in Central Oregon, as the chicks won’t fledge until mid-August!  Please contact Diane Randgaard at if you would like to learn more about the Crooked River National Grassland Nest Box Trail.
Photo: Diane Randgaard

Golden Eagles in the Middle Deschutes and
Lower Crooked River Canyons
By Marilynne Keyser, FANs President
In Oregon, golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) occur statewide and are most common in the eastern half of the state. Migrant golden eagles from other areas visit the state in winter, while nesting pairs mostly appear to be year-round residents. In Central Oregon, golden eagles build their huge stick nests on cliffs. They generally build multiple nests within their breeding territory.

Most of our golden eagle monitoring volunteers are members of Friends and Neighbors of the Deschutes Canyon Area (FANs), and we work under the direction of Frank Isaacs with the Oregon Eagle Foundation ( The area we monitor fits nicely into the two river canyons surrounding Crooked River Ranch, where many of our 450 FANs members live. Jeff Scheetz is the coordinator of
our local Golden Eagle Nest Monitoring Program. He personally has explored many canyon miles to locate historical nesting sites and to uncover new ones.  He is ably assisted by monitors Cindy Murray, Diane and Dave Roberts, Wendy and Lynn Micklus, Nancy and Cliff Baker, Rob Windlinx and Ralph Gerig.

On the Lower Crooked River, there are five sites (about 30 nests) located between Trail Crossing (about 1.5 miles upstream of Ogden State Park) and Opal Springs Dam on the Crooked River just south of Lake Billy Chinook.

On the Middle Deschutes River, there are four sites (about 30 nests) located between Riffle Lane (about 3 miles upstream of Steelhead Falls) and Geneva View (7 miles downstream of the falls).

Early in the year before the nesting season begins, FANs volunteers hike to various observation points which cover most of the known historic nests. Much of this hiking is off-trail, and in some cases, the sites are quite remote. Private land ownership prevents access for observations of some nests.

This year, five volunteer teams contributed observations, resulting in confirmed nesting attempts at five 
sites, with one of those nests successfully fledging one young. In 2019, two chicks successfully fledged. The 2020 result of one successful chick fledging shows a statistically insignificant decrease due to the small population.

Cindy Murray, the monitor of our only successful nest, described the experience as a “very exciting season and a great privilege to be able to observe a part of nature’s life cycle!” If you would like to learn more about eagle monitoring, email us at


Golden eagle in flight, Photo: Tom Koerner, USFWS
Latino Conservation Week is July 18-26

In its seventh year, Latino Conservation Week has resulted in broader coverage of the Latino role in conservation. It has emphasized the Latino community’s passion for the outdoors and led to recognition from local, state and national elected officials of the important role Latinos play as stewards.

The Allure of Penstemon

Swallowtail butterfly
Photo: Tom Iraci

Anna's hummingbird
Photo: Trish Nevan
Board Meeting Schedule

Friends and Neighbors of the Deschutes Canyon Area board meetings are usually held at 4:00 p.m. the second Sunday each month at Marilynne and John Keyser's home, located at 16420 Dove Road at Crooked River Ranch.  Copies of the agenda are available before the meetings.  Public comments are welcome at the end of board meetings.

Our next board meeting will be August 9, 2020, at 4:00 p.m.  In August, we will determine if meeting will take place outside or if we will use Zoom.  Please email if you would like to participate in this meeting.

FANs Board of Directors
Our all-volunteer Board of Directors focuses on our mission: Preserve and restore the wild landscapes of the Middle Deschutes and Lower Crooked Rivers and Lower Whychus Creek through stewardship, outreach, and education. 

You can read more about our Board of Directors and Leadership Team by clicking here.

Friends and Neighbors of the Deschutes Canyon Area
is proud to be a part of

Friends Grassroots Network
Central Oregon Conservation Network.


FANs is a 501-C-3 Nonprofit Organization  EIN #45-4986167

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Our mailing address is:
Friends and Neighbors of the Deschutes Canyon Area
PO Box 2127
Terrebonne, OR 97760
541.771.FANS (3267)

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Friends and Neighbors of the Deschutes Canyon Area · PO Box 2127 · Terrebonne, OR 97760-2127 · USA

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