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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Protecting Wallowa Lake’s East Moraine

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Protecting Wallowa Lake’s East Moraine

Several years ago, a conversation began among private landowners, Wallowa County and local organizations about how best to protect the east moraine of Wallowa Lake, above, from further development. (Leon Wurdinger photo)
Several years ago, a conversation began among private landowners, Wallowa County and local organizations about how best to protect the east moraine of Wallowa Lake, above, from further development. (Leon Wurdinger photo)
ENTERPRISE — More than 15,000 years ago, a glacier created a bowl-shaped geographic feature unlike any other in Oregon. Wallowa Lake and its moraines are so precious the county details their protection in its land use plan.

Several years ago, a conversation began among private landowners, county officials and local organizations about how best to protect the east moraine from further development. The face of the rim has no structures, public access is allowed for hiking and horseback riding and the land is used for grazing and timber harvest. Some of the surrounding neighbors use their land for agriculture.

Kathleen Ackley of the Wallowa Land Trust said a partnership was formed with Wallowa Resources, private landowners, Wallowa County and Oregon State Parks to figure out how best to use and protect the nearly 1,800 acres owned by the Yanke Family Trust.

“The partnership has been working with the Yanke Family Trust for some time,” Ackley said. “We are working together to get a fair market value appraisal done by the end of the summer.”

Once the appraisal is completed, the partnership will start the fundraising process to buy the land from the Yanke trust, maintain grazing and timber harvest and provide public access.

The partnership, Ackley said, was invited to apply for Forest Legacy Program funding, money available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Land and Water Conservation Fund that helps states protect the integrity of working forests.

Ackley said the partnership submitted a letter of interest and theirs was one of six projects in Oregon invited to submit a full proposal to compete nationally for $4 million.

“The Forest Legacy funding is a significant pot of money with the stipulation if you buy the land outright, it must be owned by state or local government,” Ackley said.

For the complete story, see Monday's edition of The Observer. 

This story has been corrected to reflect how Wallowa Lake was formed. 

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