There and Back Again
A BLM retiree makes his mark after 50 years.
story & photos by Matt Christenson
They came from across the state - generations of family & friends and current & retired BLM staffers - converging at the base of the mighty Steens Mountain in southeastern Oregon...
Arching 10,000 feet to the sky, Steens Mountain was long famous for having one the most treacherous wagon-wheel trails ever braved by pioneers hearty enough to crest its summit.
But now - thanks to Howard DeLano - every visitor in a vehicle can drive the Steens Loop and reach majestic heights where they may gaze across the mysterious miles.
Who's Howard, you ask? 96-year-old retiree Howard DeLano began his career with the U.S. Grazing Service in 1942 (before the BLM ever existed). And thanks to his efforts in the 1950s, Howard secured one million dollars in Congressional appropriations to build the entire loop that we use today. He's also the inspiration for the BLM's new plaque, fittingly dedicated to his achievement at the base of Steens Mountain.
So maybe add Steens Mountain to your "To Do" file. Come next spring, perhaps you'll be inspired to visit the top and gaze out into the heart of its valleys and mountainsides.
Howard's plaque is there to mark your way...