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County questions federal designation of Trail route suggested by ONDA

January 15, 2014 by

Lake County’s Board of Commissioners questioned a proposal by the Oregon Natural Desert Association to seek a federal designation for the Oregon Desert Trail route.

Part of the trail traverses numerous points in Lake County.  It’s point of origin is near Bend and passes through the county north-to-south before continuing south toward Lakeview, east into the Warner Valley near Adel and Plush, ultimately meandering east to Lake Owyhee State Park.

Lake County communities along the trail’s route include Christmas Valley, Paisley, Valley Falls, Lakeview and Plush.

The Commissioners discussed correspondence directed by ONDA Exec. Dir. Brent Fenty to Oregon BLM Dir. Jerry Perez with the request for the Oregon Desert Trail as a National Recreation Trail connecting trail to the Oregon High Desert National Recreation Trail and the Fremont National Recreation Trail.

In the letter, Fenty denotes the Oregon Desert Trail as a non-developed trail, featuring numerous sections that could be enjoyed for varied recreational activities.

The correspondence also cited protected areas along the trail route, which include the Christmas Valley Sand Dunes wilderness study area, Abert Rim and Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge.

The correspondence also cites potential economic benefits to communities along the trail’s route.

Commissioner Ken Kestner said that the board supports recreation on public lands, but is concerned with specific constraints that may come with such a federal designation.  The board approved by unanimous vote submitting a letter addressing their concerns.

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