Andy Kerr

Conservationist, Writer, Analyst, Operative, Agitator, Strategist, Tactitian, Schmoozer, Raconteur

Pronghorn Wilderness (Proposed)

Suggested Citation: Kerr, Andy. 2000. Oregon Desert Guide: 70 Hikes. Seattle: The Mountaineers Books. pp. 137-138.

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One of the largest concentrations of pronghorn in Oregon.

Location: Harney and Lake Counties, 15 miles east- southeast of Adel

Size: 436 square miles (279,039 acres)

Terrain: Huge gentle flats and gently rolling hills dissected by the occasional canyon and dotted with ephemeral lakes

Elevation Range: 4,586-6,185 feet

Managing Agencies: Fish and Wildlife Service (Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuge; some current and
more proposed) and Lakeview and Burns Districts BLM (some current and less proposed)

Agency Wilderness Status: 10,350-acre wilderness study area; 0 acres recommended

Recreation Maps: Southeast Quarter, South Half Lakeview Resource Area, Lakeview District BLM; South
Half Burns District BLM

Situated on the eastern portion of the Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuge and continuing east toward Beatys Butte and the Catlow Valley and south toward the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, the proposed wilderness is part of the criti- cally important "biological unit" for the Hart Mountain—Sheldon pronghorn herd (see Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Additions). It is also part of the Oregon Biodiversity Project's Hart Mountain Conservation Opportunity Area.

Most of the area is a classic sagebrush steppe ecosystem with big and low sagebrush/grasslands communities dominating the landscape. Juniper is found at higher elevations. Riparian vegetation is found along the few streams, such as Guano Creek and Guano Slough in Black Canyon. Water is usually seasonally available at several sink lakes.

Crosby's buckwheat (Erigonum crosbyae), a recently discovered species, is found on a unique soil type. This species is known to exist at only two Oregon locations.

A bit of badlands topography can be found in the lower Guano Creek area.

Raptor habitat is found in the rims and canyon edges along streams. Besides being critical habitat for the pronghorn herd, the area supports mule deer and, increasingly, Rocky Mountain elk. Canada geese and other waterfowl use the numerous ephemeral lakes. Sage grouse are also found in good numbers.

The Sheldon tui chub is found in Guano Creek. Its most secure (continuously wet) habitat is on the Sheldon Refuge in Nevada. At times of high water in the Guano Creek system all the chub habitat is connected. The area includes the BLM's Guano Creek Wilderness Study Area.