BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- This month, Discover Your Forest, the official nonprofit partner of the Deschutes National Forest, accepted an Outstanding Public Lands Partnership Award from the Public Lands Alliance in Washington, DC.
The award recognizes “an exemplary partnership for a stunning achievement to protect and preserve our public lands and enhance the experiences of their visitors and users. The award is presented to both the nonprofit and agency partners for their shared achievements.”
The award was given in recognition of a cleanup effort at Cabin Butte, and the partnership that made it possible.
The Cabin Butte project kicked off in 2019, when outdoor retailer REI Co-Op began to look for a stewardship project for their Leadership Conference in Sunriver. It was jointly decided to utilize the force of their more than 300 attendees to volunteers at the Cabin Butte Pit, off of China Hat Road south of Bend.
Volunteers removed more than 6,875 pounds of material by hand, as well as two vehicles from the pit. They decommissioned four illegal shooting ranges and tediously separated and recycled over 50,000 shell casings from the area. They also erected over 500 feet of fencing to prevent vehicles from driving on unauthorized roads.
In addition, volunteers installed 20 bee boxes to protect and encourage pollinator sustainability in the area.
Since the completion of this project, hikers and bikers have started to return to the neglected area to explore the nearby forests and caves.
The Public Lands Alliance is a national entity that works to foster and advance the nonprofit partners of Public Lands, as well as their agency partners, throughout the United States. They recognize the ongoing achievements of the partnership between Discover Your Forest and the Forest Service: from volunteer projects like this, to special events and educational programs for all ages. Both entities share a commitment to the continued partnership and protection of our public lands.
The success of this project was made possible by a collaborative effort from the Deschutes National Forest, Discover Your Forest, REI, The Broomsmen and Human Eco Consulting.