The Owyhee brings thru-hikers, ranchers, and businesses together
By nature, covering long distances on foot gives thru-hikers an intimate lay of the land they are exploring.
So when former firefighter Mary Kwart discovered the vast wonder of the largest stretch of unprotected public land in the lower 48 states — Oregon’s Owyhee Canyonlands — she was immediately struck by the wealth of opportunity the Owyhee affords to recreationists. And when it comes to keeping these 2.5 million acres wild and protected, she stresses the importance of working together with everyone who shares the land, especially people in local communities that have lived here for generations.
“I am totally grateful to the ranchers. They are gracious people,” Mary says. “I would like to see their concerns brought in to the whole planning process so that it’s a level playing field. I want us to bring business to these towns, so that they can see that there’s an advantage to having hikers, climbers, and birdwatchers come through.”
In the 3-minute film posted above, part of the Wild Owyhee film series produced by KEEN, Ibex Outdoor Clothing, and Osprey Packs, Mary shares why she believes in inclusive, collaborative, local grassroots protection efforts for everyone’s benefit. She also describes the solitude, challenge, and beauty of hiking in this special place.
It’s a real blow to our imagination as a people in this country that we can’t see far-sighted
enough to see the value of saving a place like this or protecting it
MARY KWART // THRU-HIKER
In the heart of the West lives a vast, untouched, and priceless gem. The Owyhee. A wild place where those who visit leave with something more than they arrived with, whether a connection to a simpler time, youthful memories reignited, or a source of hope and strength. It has been here as long as time, raw and perfect, but its uncertain future now lies in our hands. You can watch the full-length Wild Owyhee film here, and help keep the Owyhee wild by signing the petition to permanently protect Owyhee Canyonlands.