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Deschutes Canyon Currents
September 2020
Gray rabbitbrush blooms on the Lower Crooked River canyon rim. Photo by 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

Fuels Reduction Coming to the
Deschutes Canyon near Crooked River Ranch

By Marilynne, Keyser, FANs President

In August 2018, I went to Washington DC to testify on HR 2075 - Crooked River Ranch Fire Protection Act - before a subcommittee of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The bill, introduced by Rep. Greg Walden, called for the release of 832 acres from the Deschutes Canyon-Steelhead Falls Wilderness Area (WSA) to allow for fuels reduction on WSA lands adjacent to Crooked River Ranch. 

Friends and Neighbors of the Deschutes Canyon Area (FANs) was not opposed to WSA release; however, we had several serious concerns about the approach of HR 2075. There were no provisions actually requiring that fuels reduction be done on the released land or that the released land continued to be actively managed.  As a result of FANs testimony and the support of other conservation partners, Sen. Ron Wyden was able to pass amendments to the bill that:

  1. ensured the fuels reduction would be done, 

  2. required the process be designed to protect and improve the sagebrush steppe habitat for wildlife and native plants, and

  3. required the released land to remain closed to unauthorized motor vehicles.  

Fast forward to August 2020: The BLM Prineville District released a scoping letter for public comment that will begin the Economic Assessment (EA) process for the “Steelheads Falls Fuels Reduction Project.”  As a result of FANs continued involvement, we were able to respond to the scoping letter, work with the Crooked River Ranch HOA Board of Directors to get information to property owners so that they could also participate in the scoping process, and alert our conservation partners.

Read FANs response to the BLM scoping letter.

Our Lens on Learning Series Continues Online

Mysteries of the Belted Kingfisher
presented by Marina Richie, naturalist writer
October 24, 2020, 10:00 a.m.
Register Now

Delve into the secretive world of belted kingfishers with naturalist writer Marina Richie of Bend. Learn tips on where and how to find them on the Deschutes River and nearby waterways. Delve into what makes these cocky, jay-sized birds such expert anglers--from the art of the headfirst dive to superior vision. Discover why the kingfisher is the halcyon bird, linked to a Greek myth of transformation.

Marina Richie has followed belted kingfishers  in the field for more than a decade, and has authored a book-length manuscript, now in the publishing process. She's written for National Wildlife, Audubon, and Birdwatching Magazine (including a feature in the May/June 2020 issue). She's also an award-winning writer of interpretive panels--including a series of 67 signs along the Oregon coast for the Oregon Islands NWR. Her nature blog can be found at

Photos: Belted kingfisher by Charles Wheeler; presenter Marina Richie
Three Local Guided Hikes Offered in October
Jeff Scheetz,  FANs Hiking Coordinator
We are offering three guided hikes, with temporary restrictions to mitigate COVID-19 risks, in October.  We believe our program meets all current health authority rules and recommendations.  Hikes are subject to cancellation due to changing conditions of weather, fire, and public health.
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: Past, Present and Future
Crooked River National Grassland - Two different dates!

Thursday, October 8, 8:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Thursday, October 29, 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 the October 8 hike.
Sign up available on September 29 for October 29 hike.
Alder Springs/Whychus-Deschutes Confluence Hike
Ochoco National Forest

Friday, October 16, 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. (includes drive time)
Rating: Difficult (due to creek crossing), 7 miles
Guide: Cindy Murray, FANs board member
This hike starts along a scenic rim and steeply descends into Whychus Creek Canyon, passing below cliff towers and a dry waterfall.  A water fording at Whychus Creek (about knee deep) is required to continue on the mostly level trail to the confluence of Whychus Creek and the Deschutes River.  The trail ends in a pleasant ponderosa pine grove at the river's edge.  The confluence offers wonderful views of colorful canyon walls. 

One of the many scenic views along Alder Springs Trail.  Photo by Charyn McDonnell

Jump Right In and Learn about Invasive Weeds!
Two wonderful FANs members have stepped up to join our Invasive Weed Consultants team.  We are so pleased!  We are looking for one more volunteer Invasive Weed Consultant.  You will work with Penny Radtke and other volunteers to help property owners identify weeds, along with native plants, on their properties.  Invasive weed consultations usually occur May through August.  If you are interested in learning more about invasive weeds and native plants, please don't hesitate - we need help, and this is a great way to learn new things and pay it forward to others in your community.  Call Penny Radtke at 541-410-0299 or email
Puncture vine (Tribulus terrestris) is an annual weed that spreads by seeds.

Lower Whychus Creek Deserves
Wild and Scenic River Protection

When Senator Wyden asked for Wild and Scenic River nominations in October 2019, he received more than 15,000 responses nominating more than 4,000 miles of rivers and streams in Oregon to be added to the national Wild and Scenic Rivers designation list.

FANs members wrote to Senator Wyden asking for Lower Whychus Creek to be designated into the Wild and Scenic Rivers system.  Whychus Creek is approximately 41 miles long from its headwaters in the Three Sisters Wilderness to its confluence with the Deschutes River.  While the upper section of Whychus Creek was designated into the Wild and Scenic Rivers system, Lower Whychus Creek, near the Deschutes River confluence, still lacks this designation.  As you "stay healthy and stay home," you can speak up for the protection of Lower Whychus Creek.

Please let Senator Wyden know you support Lower Whychus Creek Wild and Scenic protection.  You can send him an email message (click "Share your opinion on legislation" and use message topic "Environment").  Please include one or more of the following:

-Tell WHY Lower Whychus Creek is important to you.
-Share a personal story and/or a personal photo of your time along Lower Whychus Creek.
-Be specific about location: You can use, "Lower Whychus Creek from the Crooked River National Grassland boundary to its confluence with the Deschutes River.”
-Thank Senator Wyden for protecting Oregon's rivers and creeks.

Thank you, FANs members, for continuing to speak up to protect Lower Whychus Creek!

Lower Whychus Creek deserves Wild and Scenic River protection.  Photo by Charyn McDonnell


Our Lens on Learning series
recordings are now available:

What's Blooming Now on the Canyon Rim?  May 2020

What's Blooming Now in the Grasslands?  June 2020

What's Blooming Now in the Riparian Zone?  August 2020

Common Weeds of the Deschutes Canyon Area  Sept. 2020


Birds of Prey Visitors
FANs members at Crooked River Ranch were fortunate to witness birds of prey up close this summer at home.  Great company, indeed!

Cooper's hawks nested in Diane Randgaard's backyard.
Four chicks successfully fledged.
Photo by Kevin Smith

A great horned owl frequently visited Tom Iraci and Barbara Kennedy's water feature to take a bath and get a drink of water.
Photo by Tom Iraci
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 October 11, 2020, at 4:00 p.m. via 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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