The Aftermath Of The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Takeover
From Outdoor Research partner organization the Oregon Natural Desert Association:
By now you likely know that the illegal takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by armed extremists has come to an end. The last six weeks will long be remembered as tumultuous times for the people of Harney County, Ore., and for the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. It’s with feelings of gratitude and relief that we thank law enforcement officials who put themselves at risk to bring this takeover to a resolution. Our thoughts remain with the Harney County community, the Burns Paiute Tribe, the employees of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, the Burns District of the Bureau of Land Management and others who endured during this hostile time.
As the media trucks pull out and the wheels of justice move forward, the Oregon Natural Desert Association vows to remain committed to the health and welfare of the Malheur Refuge. We will also continue to perform land stewardship work at the refuge, which in the past has included treating invasive weeds, removing obsolete fences and building new ones to best serve avian habitat, area ranchers and other uses of the refuge.
During the occupation, ONDA received calls from hundreds of people who wanted to help remedy the terrible circumstances inflicted on the wildlife refuge by the occupiers who removed fences, created roads and excavated the land to create earthen berms. In anticipation of an eventual end to the occupation, we asked the public to pledge to volunteer their time and energy to restore the refuge once the occupation ended and refuge staff had the chance to develop a restoration strategy. To date more than 800 people have made this pledge.
While ONDA and its volunteers await the opportunity to contribute to repairing the refuge, we will continue discussions with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Tribal partners about how else we can be of help. One immediate way to show support for the people of Harney County is by visiting their communities and marveling at the natural wonders there like the Malheur Refuge. Anyone interested in taking the pledge to help restore the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge can sign up at: onda.org/volunteerformalheur.