Deep, wind-deposited soils harbor one of the Columbia Basin's last remaining native grasslands. A small, dry creekbed cuts down the center of the preserve which hosts a diversity of wildlife.
In the hills north of Heppner, in north central Oregon
Ecologists are monitoring the recovery of native prairie species and volunteers are helping to control invasive non-native plants that threaten the integrity of the rare habitats on the preserve.
Visitors will notice a scar running across its east end marking a prairie restoration project over an underground natural gas pipeline. Pacific Gas Transmission Company worked with The Nature Conservancy to replant native prairie grasses after installation of the pipeline.
Bluebunch wheatgrass and Sandberg's bluegrass dominate the grassland, a habitat type now extremely rare in the Columbia Basin due to highly productive dryland wheat farming and other agriculture.
The preserve also hosts high-quality examples of three other Columbia Plateau native shrubland and grassland communities involving downey wheatgrass, needle-and-thread grass, big sagebrush, and bitterbrush.
The preserve hosts a diversity of wildlife, including long-billed curlew, badger, a variety of songbirds and raptors, as well as Washington ground squirrels, state-listed as threatened.
The most interesting area of the preserve is on the slopes surrounding the bottomland. There are no developed trails. The preserve is accessible year-round.
Please observe the following guidelines while hiking: