On this day twenty-one years ago, Congress protected 428,000 acres of Steens Mountain in Oregon

Twenty-one years ago, Congress protected 428,000 acres of Steens Mountain, ensuring its status as one of the most special natural places in Oregon. 

To celebrate, we're sharing some of the best photos of the mountain taken by members of the public and submitted to the BLM.

The Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Act of 2000, created a massive wilderness area, established two new wild and scenic rivers, and extended the mileage protected for a third.

Valley and sky
A sunny day in Kiger Gorge. Photo via BLM OR/WA Flickr Group: Gwendolyn Allsop

The huge undertaking involved public and private land, and everyone from local ranchers in Harney County to Oregon’s entire congressional delegation, forever altering the rules for managing what is one of the largest fault-block mountains in the U.S.

Ultimately, the chief purpose of the act, when written, was simple: “To maintain the cultural, economic, ecological, and social health of the Steens Mountain area in Harney County, Oregon.”

Now, in 2020, Steens Mountain is probably slightly more well known as a natural gem of Oregon.

Thirty miles long and reaching a height of 9,700 feet, visitors come to Steens Mountain for camping, hiking and backpacking, of course, but also to catch a glimpse of wild horses, drive on the state’s highest elevation road, and for some of the best night sky views America has to offer!

Steens Mountain is one of the most popular photograph submission locations for the BLM Oregon-Washington Flickr Group, which is open to the public.

From the alpine Wildhorse Lake to the glacial-carved gorges and incredible fall colors of the aspen groves, these photos have it all, and choosing only a few was a nearly impossible task.

So enjoy, and click on the links to see more!

Wild horses sparring for dominance.
Wild horses spar for dominance on Steens Mountain. Photo via BLM OR/WA Flickr Group: George of the Gorge

Visit: https://on.doi.gov/3yiZqCN

BLM photo & video archive: https://goo.gl/VOkTFg

Fly in a glider above Steens: https://goo.gl/HCRv6G

Bikepacking over Steens: https://goo.gl/WKDYrY

Hardest run in America – the Steens Rim Run: https://youtu.be/gCovhjQMwLo

360° hike to Wildhorse Lake: https://youtu.be/8kOl_amfWHo

Questions? Ask the Burns District: https://on.doi.gov/3kcbMpJ


Jeanne Panfely, Public Affairs Officer

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