Protecting Land on the West's Outstanding Rivers

by Western Rivers Conservancy
Protecting Land on the West's Outstanding Rivers

Project Report | Apr 24, 2012
Western Rivers Conservancy Spring 2012 Report

By David Wilkins | Development Director

With backing from GlobalGiving donors, Western Rivers Conservancy (WRC) is buying land along outstanding rivers across the western United States. Your gift supports the essential operating costs of purchasing land and placing properties in permanent conservation stewardship. Your contribution is dedicated to such activities as: developing relationships with willing seller landowners; preserving salmon and steel head habitat; and creating new hiking trails, boating access and recreational opportunities.           

Thanks to your contribution, we are:

-        Protecting vital fish and wildlife habitat corridors in northern California’s Sierra Nevada.

-        Conserving access to one of the most beautiful river floats in Oregon.

California’s Mill and Deer Creeks: Conserving Vital Links in the Sierra Nevada

In the northern Sierra Nevada foothills, a few precious streams hold the hope of restoring the Sacramento River’s fishery. Among them are Mill and Deer Creeks. Flowing in adjoining watersheds from the slopes of Mount Lassen to the Sacramento Valley, these are two of the last streams in the northern Sierra Nevada that support Threatened runs of spring Chinook and winter steel head. Western Rivers Conservancy’s acquisitions along these streams are establishing continuous protected corridors for fish and wildlife, as well as new public recreational opportunities.

Western Rivers Conservancy (WRC) has committed to purchasing 1,792 acres along Mill Creek, including two and a half miles of river frontage. Besides supporting Threatened fish species, the upper Mill Creek watershed boasts one of the largest stands of old-growth forest remaining in the northern Sierra, which is a haven for California spotted owls, Pacific fishers and wolverines. This project presents an unprecedented opportunity to protect the only private lands along 35 miles of Mill Creek between Lassen Volcanic National Park, Lassen National Forest and the Ishi Wilderness. WRC has helped the Lassen National Forest secure Land and Water Conservation Funds to purchase these in holdings.

WRC’s project also includes 640 acres in the Deer Creek watershed, just south of Mill Creek. Deer Creek winds through more than 50 miles of old-growth coniferous forest, chaparral, blue oak groves and grassy hills. In 2009, WRC began to conserve this vital link along Deer Creek when it purchased the Lower Deer Creek Falls property from Sierra Pacific Industries. In December, 2011, the California Wildlife Conservation Board approved funding that allowed WRC to convey this land to the Northern California Regional Land Trust for permanent conservation.

The Mill and Deer Creek watersheds are treasured by river runners, anglers and hikers, and attract thousands of visitors each year. Conserving these properties will improve access for hiking, fishing and whitewater kayaking. This project will also complete public ownership of the scenic Mill Creek Trail, which links Lassen National Forest to the Ishi Wilderness Area. The same can be said of the Deer Creek acquisition which is the missing link in a complex of trails that include the breathtaking Lower Deer Creek Falls.

Oregon’s Minam River: Prime Eastern Oregon River Access Forever Conserved

River recreationists will forever have access to one of the most beautiful river floats in Oregon. Situated at the confluence of the Minam and Wallowa Rivers, the Minam Store is a prized access point for river users, including anglers, hunters and especially boaters. The site is vital for reaching the majestic river canyon and launching multi-day family float trips on the Wild and Scenic Wallowa and Grande Ronde Rivers.

On March 1, 2012, Western Rivers Conservancy conveyed two acres, including the Minam Store property and 350 feet of river frontage, to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

The site sits adjacent to Minam State Recreation Area and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has long sought to bring the property into public ownership. Oregon Parks and Recreation Department’s permanent stewardship of the Minam Store property will result in continued public access and a protected waterway for fish, wildlife and people.


With the support of GlobalGiving donors, Western Rivers Conservancy is expanding our efforts to protect river lands for fish, wildlife and people. Please contact David Wilkins at 503-241-0151, ext. 14 (or with any questions or for further information. Thank you.


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Organization Information

Western Rivers Conservancy

Project Leader:
Anne Tattam
Administrative and Development Associate
Portland , OR United States

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