Monthly Archives: April 2015

The Island, a National Natural Landmark

The Island is majestically placed between the Deschutes River and Crooked River where they enter Lake Billy Chinook.

The Island is majestically placed between the Deschutes River and Crooked River where they enter Lake Billy Chinook.

The Island is a peninsula with steep vertical cliffs on three sides, that rise 700 feet above the Crooked and Deschutes Rivers.  It measures about 208 acres on top. Due to the steep cliffs that surround it, the Island has never been grazed by livestock, except for one season of grazing by sheep in 1921. It also has not suffered from any sizable wildfires in the last century.  As a result, it contains one of the United States’ last remaining undisturbed communities of two native vegetation types: western juniper – big sagebrush-blue bunch-wheatgrass and western juniper-big sagebrush-bitterbrush.

The Island is significant in several ways.  This geologic feature is part of the Deschutes Formation which began forming about 11 million years ago, as alternating layers of basaltic lava, stream sediment, and volcanic debris flowed into the area from the Cascade Range.  Erosion by the Deschutes and Crooked rivers; as well as wind have continued to form and erode the plateau we see today.  It was a powerful cultural location to local Native American’s.  It also possesses exceptional value as an illustration of the Nation’s Natural Heritage and contributes to a better understanding of the environment.  

In order to preserve the integrity of the site, the Island is designated a Research Natural Area by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in 1986.  In 1997, the BLM closed the Island to the public; permits may be issued to educational institutions and conservation groups seasonally.  Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, designated it as one of nine National Natural Landmarks in Oregon.

In 2011, the Island formation at Lake Billy Chinook was dedicated as a National Natural Landmark.

The Island at Lake Billy Chinook was dedicated as a National Natural Landmark in 2011.

Rangers Steve Bifano, Chris Rodgers, and Jay Walters located the perfect rock in which to set the National Landmark plaque this spring.

If you are driving toward Deschutes Camp, on the left side of the road, near the Petroglyph Rock pull off area, you will see a trail going back towards Group Camp.  Hike about a hundred feet and you will find the plaque.  Park Staff intend to install a bench for visitors in the future.

 

The Cove Rattler

A RANGER BLOG FOR THE COVE PALISADES STATE PARK

Columbia River GORGEOUS

Ranger's blog for state parks in the Columbia River Gorge

NAI Region 10

NAI R10 is a nonprofit professional organization serving NAI members in Alaska, Yukon, Alberta, British Columbia, Idaho, Washington and Oregon. Our mission is to inspire leadership and excellence to advance heritage interpretation as a profession.

A RANGER BLOG FOR THE COVE PALISADES STATE PARK

High Desert Musings

A RANGER BLOG FOR THE COVE PALISADES STATE PARK

Oregon Observatory RSS

A RANGER BLOG FOR THE COVE PALISADES STATE PARK

Nature Into Action

Connecting with the Natural World

STEAM - EDUCATION

Science rocks!

Pristine farm experience

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Northwest Renewable News

Your Daily Source for Renewable Energy News in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana & Northern California

Volunteer Voice

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

Cottonwood Canyon State Park

Help make an Oregon State Park

Your Parks "Go Guide"

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department