Our Operating Area
The water flowing out of the Blue Mountains travels approximately 284 miles through mixed forests, open range and striking geology before it spills into the Columbia River. This free-flowing river is the second longest undammed waterway in the nation. While traversing the North Fork sub-basin, water spills from 8,300 feet at the highest point to 1,800 feet at Kimberly discharging 60% of the entire John Day River flow. Its continental climate brings nine inches of precipitation to the lowlands and as much as 40 inches in the mountains providing for varied scenery and ecology.
The land is 73% forested, 24% open, 2% cropland and 1% in other uses. There are 122,000 acres of wilderness, 80.8 miles of scenic river, a 29,000 acre scenic area and a 13,000 acre Wildlife Management Area. Public land constitutes 65% of the basin.
Less than 1200 people live in the watershed. That means for every person in the basin, there are roughly 1,400 acres of land. This is still a frontier landscape where cars are few on the roadways and quiet floats on the air. Among those 1200 people are the North Fork John Day Watershed Council staff and board of directors.