New Survey Shows Strong Majority of Oregonians Favor Protecting the Owyhee Canyonlands

Solid support statewide and in the 2nd Congressional District

Portland, Oregon – A new poll released today found that a majority of Oregonians support permanently safeguarding the Owyhee Canyonlands. The poll was conducted by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research on behalf of Oregon League of Conservation Voters (OLCV).

More than six in ten voters expressed support for permanent protection for the Owyhee Canyonlands, after hearing basic information about it.  That support was 60% in the 2nd Congressional District, where the proposal is located.[i]   When details of the protections were provided – both what could be and what would not be allowed in the area –  support jumped to 70 percent statewide and 66 percent in the 2nd Congressional District. [ii]

“This poll shows that there is strong support for conserving the Owyhee Canyonlands,” said Lisa Grove, with Anzalone Liszt Grove Research. “The support spans across various demographics, including political affiliation, location, and age.”  

Doug Moore, executive director of Oregon League of Conservation Voters continued, “It is clear that Oregonians are connected to the Owyhee, and we want to make sure that it is here for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.  “More than 35,000 Oregonians have signed a petition urging our elected officials to protect the Owyhee. It is time for them to act.”

Oregonians’ reaction in the poll mirror a recent scientific analysis that found just how special these lands are from a conservation standpoint.  The Owyhee Canyonlands are extremely wild country.   It one of the only places to view the night sky and the Milky Way in the lower 48 without light pollution: ranking in the top 1% of all western U.S. lands in terms of dark night skies and the top 1% in terms of wildlife connectivity.  It’s why this area is beloved by sportsman across the state and beyond.

“The Owyhee Canyonlands is a national treasure, long recognized for its spectacular canyons, unspoiled rivers and vast, undeveloped uplands that offer critical wildlife habitat,” says Dan Cherry with the National Sportfishing Industry Association. “The area is an economic engine for local businesses that depend on the visitors who come for the unsurpassed recreational opportunities of fishing, hunting, camping and paddling.  That’s why more than 150 business leaders are backing the Owyhee proposal, with more voicing their support every week. Access to  public lands and rivers that are abundant with fish and wildlife are the bedrock of our state’s outdoor economy.”

The Anzalone Liszt Grove Research survey found that greater than 2:1 margins statewide and in the 2nd Congressional District favor permanent protections.  This support cut across all five congressional districts, demonstrating strong statewide support.

 View the survey here: SUMMARY — OWYHEE OR STATEWIDE MAY 2015.FINAL

[i] “The Owyhee Canyonlands spans several million acres across three different states, with the majority of these lands in southeast Oregon. The area includes rolling hills, red rock formations, and deep river canyons – and offers opportunities for rafting, hiking, backpacking, hunting, and fishing. It is also home to over two-hundred species of wildlife including sage-grouse, golden eagles and the largest herd of California bighorn sheep in the country. Currently, over one million acres of Oregon’s Owyhee Canyonlands are under temporary protection. There is a proposal to protect these lands and other important cultural, historic and wildlife habitat areas under permanent protection.

“From what you know, would you favor or oppose permanent protections for these parts of the Owyhee Canyonlands?”

[ii] “As you may know, protections in the Owyhee Canyonlands would prevent new large mines or large-scale development. Recreation use such as boating, hunting, fishing, hiking and camping would be allowed. Motorized and mechanized vehicle use would be allowed in roughly half of the area. Cattle grazing would be allowed to continue.

After hearing more about these protections, would you favor or oppose permanent protections for these parts of the Owyhee Canyonlands?”