Oregon Badlands Wilderness

Oregon Badlands Wilderness
Oregon Badlands Wilderness
IUCN Category Ib (Wilderness Area)
Oregon Badlands meadow P6304.jpg
Oregon Badlands with sagebrush in bloom, Juniper trees, and proximity to Oregon Cascades
Map showing the location of Oregon Badlands Wilderness
Map showing the location of Oregon Badlands Wilderness
Location Deschutes / Crook counties, Oregon, USA
Nearest city Bend, Oregon
Coordinates 44°00′N 121°02′W / 44°N 121.04°W / 44; -121.04Coordinates: 44°00′N 121°02′W / 44°N 121.04°W / 44; -121.04
Area 29,301 acres (11,858 ha)
Established United States Bureau of Land Management

Oregon Badlands Wilderness is a 29,301-acre (11,858 ha) wilderness area located east of Bend in Deschutes and Crook counties in the U.S. state of Oregon. It was created by the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 30, 2009.[1]

The wilderness is situated on high desert terrain and is associated with a volcanic rootless shield.[2][3] This broad 10–12 km volcanic shield issued lava from a rootless vent.[2] The lava flow dates to about 80,000 years old and comes from a main vent further up the slopes of Newberry Volcano.[2][4] This main vent was located near Lava Top Butte and the lava that came out of this vent travelled through the Arnold Lava Tube System to arrive at the current location of the Badlands.[2] An irregularly-shaped pit crater at the top of the shield marks the site where lava flowed in all directions to create the Badlands.[4] Lava tubes acted as conduits for the lava in some instances and are evidenced on the surface by tumuli, also known as pressure ridges.[3][5] Soils in the Badlands were largely formed from ash associated with the eruption of Mount Mazama some 2500 years ago.[6]

It is the northwesternmost part of the Northern Basin and Range ecoregion, described as Pluvial Lake Basin, and shares many characteristics of the Great Basin. The land is BLM-administered.[7]

The area is known for igneous castle-like rock formations, harsh terrain, ancient Juniper trees, sagebrush, and extensive arid land. Desert wildflowers, dry river canyons, and Native American pictographs can be found.[8] The blind iditarod racer Rachel Scdoris trained in the area.[7]

The Deschutes County commissioners disagreed over designating the area as wilderness since doing so would exclude vehicles.[9]



Native vegetation in the Oregon Badlands Wilderness have adapted to the less than 12 inches (30 cm) of annual rainfall. Western juniper can live to be over 1,000 years old in the region. The oldest dated tree in Oregon - estimated to be over 1,600 years old - grows near the wilderness.[4]

Other common plants found in the Badlands wilderness include big sagebrush, rabbitbrush, and various bunchgrasses, including Idaho fescue and bluebunch wheatgrass. In the spring, the area blooms with a variety of wildflowers, including Oregon sunshine, dwarf monkeyflower, sulfur buckwheat, indian paintbrush, and mariposa lily.[4]


Oregon Badlands Wilderness is home to a variety of wildlife, including black-tailed jackrabbit, mule deer, elk, pronghorn antelope, cottontail rabbit, coyote, bats and six species of lizard. More than 100 species of bird live in the area, including golden eagle, sage grouse, and prairie falcon.[4]

See also


External links

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