Formed in 2017, the Oregon Desert Land Trust is dedicated to conserving and restoring wild and working lands in Oregon’s high desert for wildlife and people. Working with Tribes, landowners, land managers, and other partners has helped conserve more than 20,000 acres of privately-owned land within surrounding public lands and conservation areas. These properties are managed in partnership to sustain healthy habitats, abundant wildlife, and the resource-dependent economies in a region that spans more than 10 million acres. Focal areas are often in wet, productive settings and have outsized importance in this arid landscape. They are crucial to wildlife connectivity, rangeland health, cultural and historical preservation, public access and climate resilience of the high desert.
In 2021, the Oregon Desert Land Trust established one of the largest conservation projects in Oregon by purchasing the 16,645-acre Trout Creek Ranch in the Pueblo and Trout Creek Mountains. This property includes livestock grazing permits on nearly 500,000 acres of public land and helps connect several established conservation areas, including national wildlife refuges and a wilderness area. These lands are part of the rich heritage of the Numu People (Northern Paiute), support a local ranching community, and are increasingly valued by the public for recreation—including access to the Oregon Desert Trail. While project goals are to conserve and restore critical habitat, these can only be achieved by supporting the unique cultural and economic values of this area.