BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — The Deschutes Land Trust announced Thursday it has purchased and protected 1,123 acres of land along Whychus Creek northeast of Sisters: Rimrock Ranch, which includes rugged canyons, pine and juniper forests, and nearly two miles of the creek.
“The owners of Rimrock Ranch began working with the Land Trust in 2003 to conserve this unique property," said the land trust's founding director Brad Chalfant.
"From the outset, our shared long-term vision for Rimrock Ranch was that the Land Trust would one day own and ensure permanent protection of its remarkable natural resources. Thanks to stalwart donors who supported our Campaign for Whychus Creek, an amazing landowner, and our conservation partner, McKenzie River Trust, we have now realized that vision,” Chalfant added.
Rimrock Ranch’s grasslands, forests and creek are home to a wide variety of species, including reintroduced Chinook salmon and steelhead, mule deer, rocky mountain elk, golden eagles and numerous songbirds.
The diversity of natural features at the ranch, combined with the property’s connection to surrounding undeveloped lands, means it will continue to provide a refuge in the face of a changing climate.
The Land Trust is developing a management plan for Rimrock Ranch to guide future stewardship. Initial plans include working with restoration partners to restore the historic wet meadows along Whychus Creek, which were damaged by past flood control efforts.
The organization said in its announcement that they hope to begin this work in 2021 and ultimately return the creek and its floodplain to a healthy, biologically diverse condition.
Rimrock Ranch will remain private property and is accessible to the public only through the Land Trust’s guided Walk + Hike program. The Land Trust will resume tours once pandemic conditions improve.
Along with all who have contributed to the Campaign for Whychus Creek, the Land Trust said it wanted to thank McKenzie River Trust for partnering with them in the long-term stewardship of Rimrock Ranch. They also thanked the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and the Pelton Round Butte Mitigation Fund for their generous help in conserving Rimrock Ranch forever.
The Deschutes Land Trust is Central Oregon’s locally based, nationally accredited land trust. Celebrating 25 years of conserving and caring for land in Central Oregon, the Deschutes Land Trust has protected more than 13,023 acres for wildlife, scenic views, and local communities. For more information on the Deschutes Land Trust, contact them at (541) 330-0017 or visit www.deschuteslandtrust.org.