Treasured Landscapes Sites

Whychus Creek and Metolius River, OR

Deschutes, Oregon

Metolius River
Both Whychus Creek and the Metolius River are nationally designated as Wild and Scenic Rivers.

The Cascade Mountain Range rises dramatically above the fast-growing Central Oregon communities of Bend and Sisters, hosting a vibrant outdoor recreation and tourism economy. The water that flows out of these mountains feeds the Deschutes River, a valuable watershed for communities, recreation and fisheries.

Two spectacular streams pour down into this watershed the Metolius River and Whychus Creek each a designated Wild and Scenic River. The Metolius is well-known and much-loved, but suffers from heavy recreational use because of its popularity. The lesser-known Whychus has only recently been rediscovered, after years where unsustainable irrigation forced the river to dry up by the time it reached the town of Sisters. As Whychus Creek has been found again, a new wave of uncontained recreation is damaging this ruggedly beautiful watershed.


Rediscovering Whychus Creek

Within these sister watersheds, the NFF is working to address damage done by recreational use, rejuvenate in-stream fish habitat, treat noxious weeds, reduce wildfire risk and restore burned areas. Much of this work was done in preparation for a much-anticipated event for the region's fisheries. In 2010, a new fish passage system on the downstream dam allowed steelhead and Chinook salmon to return upstream in the Deschutes, for the first time in years. With the tangential effort of releasing fry in the Whychus and other tributaries eventually these fish will once again populate these streams.

BLOG: Read about Sister High students giving back for Earth Day.

BLOG: Read about the 2012 Plein Air Paint Out.


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Deschutes Treasured Landscapes
Click on the icon to the right to download a PDF of the Treasured Landscapes project area on the Deschutes National Forest.