In June, nearly 100 people joined us this year along the shores of the dramatic
Rhyolite-based, steep-walled canyon river country, camping out across the sage, willow and juniper mix of riparian vegetation where the three forks of the Owyhee river converged into the mainstem. The group of 100 included Sierra Club volunteers, new activists, ranchers and curious outdoors folks who gathered to see beautiful country, learn about what the Sierra Club is doing to protect the region and find out how they can get involved in the citizen's wilderness inventory program. Folks joined us from Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Idaho in a growing network of support for Owyhee wilderness.
One of the best locations for a strategy session was in the shade of overhanging streamside willows, where participants dressed in shorts and river shoes sat in chairs partly submerged in the cooling water of the Owyhee River. Rendezvous attendees braved the unseasonable high desert heat wave, which at its zenith reached 98 in the shade, 106 in the direct sun. Luckily, the water, shade and a nearby warm spring provided plenty of refuge. Participants also accepted good-naturedly the local native flora and fauna, including the respectable population of rattlesnakes and bull snakes slithering about the area and the prickly stinging nettles hidden under the tall wild rye growing along the river's edge.
The Rendezvous was also the kick-off event for the regional Lewis and Clark
Days events held all week, a concentrated series of outings in the lands explored by Lewis and Clark 200 years ago, designed to draw attention to the Club's Lewis and Clark campaign and bicentennial observations. Nope, the
Owyhees weren't on the explorers' direct route, but Sacajawea's son, Pompey Charbonneau, whom his mother carried along on the expedition, is buried only a few miles from our site. He died after succumbing to influenza on the way to a Montana gold strike.
Folks at the Rendezvous enjoyed the varied guided hikes in and above the canyons, feasted on a catered dinner Saturday night and were inspired by the great set of issues and speakers put together this year. Speakers included a geologist, a Bureau of Land Management biologist, a rancher historian, Oregon and Nevada activists, former Club President Michele Perrault, and Idaho Sierra Club organizer Roger Singer.
Our campaign to protect the Owyhees is heating up! Interest is growing nationally, and pressure is building on elected officials. This Rendezvous proved we are making solid progress and that we will soon permanently protect the Owyhee Canyonlands, for our families and for our future.
For more information on the campaign to protect Owyhee Canyonlands, contact Idaho organizer Roger Singer at (208) 384-1023.
For more information about the Sierra Club's Lewis and Clark campaign or to find out how you can help, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.