The A-to-Zs of Central Oregon: G is for GEOLOGY

Broken-Top-Geology

The geology of Central Oregon is quite unique and accounts for much of the beauty in Central Oregon. We enjoy pools of clear blue water, high desert plains, lava fields, and some of the most intriguing rock features on the continent. And for all of that, we have millions of years of volcanic activity to thank! 

GEOLOGICAL FEATURES OF CENTRAL OREGON

Volcano-Tour-Bend-Oregon

VOLCANOES

It's true, we owe a lot to volcanoes. They've left us these gorgeous landscapes, some great rock climbing, and even the opportunity to find fossils underneath our feet. There are still a number of volcanoes-- active and inactive-- surrounding the town of Bend. We have some of the most recent faulting, and youngest volcanic activity in Oregon. We'll talk more about Central Oregon's volcanoes in a later blog post.

We lead amazing Volcano Tours in the summer if you're interested in learning more about these geological giants! 

  Photo by Chaney Swiney

Photo by Chaney Swiney

OBSIDIAN FIELDS

These sharp, glassy rocks are an amazing sight to behold as they sparkle in the sunlight. At 1,300 years old, our obsidian fields are significantly younger than most others in Oregon. Obsidian is created when felsic lava (which has a lower percentage of the heavier elements) cools quickly, before any crystals can form. We have lots of obsidian throughout Central Oregon! 

Volcano-Tours-Central-Oregon
Obsidian-Bend-Oregon

CALDERAS

Calderas are large volcanic craters. They're formed either by an explosive volcanic eruption, or the collapse of surface rock into an empty magma chamber. Crater Lake is a caldera filled with centuries of accumulated waters from rain and snow.

Crater-Lake-Caldera-Oregon
Fort-Rock-Oregon

THE BADLANDS

Just east of Bend is the Oregon Badlands Wilderness, over 29,000 acres of stunning public lands. The landscape is known for its castle-like rock formations, dry river canyons, and desert terrain spotted with ancient juniper and sagebrush. In the Badlands, you can find Native American pictographs.

The Badlands are a high desert terrain, and associated with a "volcanic rootless shield." While rootless lava shields are not themselves volcanoes, they are accumulations of lava flows fed from skylights above lava tubes. In short: 80,000 years ago, this whole places was lava!

Broken-Top-Central-Oregon

FUN FACT

In the 1960s, astronauts trained on the volcanic terrain in this area to prepare for their upcoming trips to the moon. In fact, Astronaut Jim Irwin of the Apollo 15 mission brought a volcanic rock from Central Oregon and placed it on the moon! 

The A-to-Zs of Central Oregon: F is for FLY FISHING

  Photo by Hayden Hunt

Photo by Hayden Hunt

FLY FISHING IN BEND

Did you know that Bend is one of the top-rated fly fishing towns in the country? The Deschutes River alone has over 252 miles of fishable waters, not to mention all the beautiful lakes, creeks, and streams that offer stunning scenery and an ample supply of fish. 

  Photo by Sarah Labuda

Photo by Sarah Labuda

WHAT IS FLY FISHING? 

Fly fishing is a technique of fishing, a little different than the traditional Bank Fishing you might be familiar with. An artificial "fly" is cast using a fly rod, reel, and specialized weighted line. The idea is to cast in a way that emulates a fly on top of the water in order to attract the fish! 

  Courtesy of the Department of Fish & Wildlife

Courtesy of the Department of Fish & Wildlife

FISH OF CENTRAL OREGON

While we don't lead fishing tours of any kind, we do appreciate the fish that inhabit our beautiful waters! We have an abundant fish population, some of which is stocked regularly for fishing purposes. Native fish species include: 

 
  • Bull Trout
  • Resident Rainbow Trout
  • Mountain Whitefish
  • Summer Steelhead
  • Redband Trout

THE IMPACT

Fishing is a fun, engaging way to develop a relationship with your local body of water. But with any recreational activity comes the opportunity for negative impact: trash, pollution, and disruption are often the partners of human activity. Without special care and attention, humans can leave a huge impact resulting in an unhealthy environment-- not to mention a declining fishing and wildlife population! For these reasons and more, it's very important to fish responsibly. 

  Photo by Tyson Dudley

Photo by Tyson Dudley

HOW CAN I BE A RESPONSIBLE FISHER?

Just by asking this question, you're taking the first step! Considering the environment should be a core issue for every outdoorsperson, especially when considering that preserving habitat directly affects activities like recreational hunting and fishing. 

  Photos Courtesy of Boy's Life Magazine

Photos Courtesy of Boy's Life Magazine

 

1. PICK UP YOUR GARBAGE, INCLUDING EXTRA FISHING LINE! 

2. CONSIDER CATCH AND RELEASE. IT LEAVES MORE FISH TO SPAWN, AND MORE FOOD SUPPLY FOR LOCAL WILDLIFE!

3. IF YOU CATCH AND RELEASE, USE BARBLESS HOOKS THAT WON'T INJURE THE FISH AS MUCH AS BARBED HOOKS. 

4. IF YOU DO KEEP YOUR FISH, DON'T TAKE MORE THAN YOU NEED. THE ECOSYSTEM RELIES ON THESE FISH FOR A HEALTHY BALANCE!

 

If you love to fish, you know how important it is to protect the fish themselves. After all, without a healthy habitat, there would be no fish to enjoy catching. That said, the tradition of fishing is directly linked to life in the Pacific Northwest, and we have nothing but respect for the art of fishing. So, get out there and land a big one! 
 

LOCAL FLY FISHING RESOURCES

 

Confluence Fly Shop is a great resource for fly fishing classes and events, as well as gear and guides. 

ODFW

The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife is a great resource if you're wondering about the rules for fishing in a certain place, or about the local flora and fauna. 

Old-Mill-Bend-Oregon

Did you know The Old Mill has a unique, permanently-fixed Casting Course, the first of its kind in North America? Check out their site, with tons more resources for fly fishing in Central Oregon. 

The A-to-Zs of Central Oregon: E is for ECOTOURISM

  Photo by Pat McKinney

Photo by Pat McKinney

Traveling is the best! Who doesn't love seeing new places, experiencing new things, and learning about different cultures and climates? At Wanderlust, we are so grateful for those visitors to the Bend, Oregon area that want to learn about Central Oregon's natural history. That's why today, on Central Oregon's A-to-Zs, we're talking about ECOTOURISM! 

Cave-Ecotourism-Bend-Oregon

WHAT IS ECOTOURISM?
We love this term because it combines two of our favorite things: traveling, and the environment! Ecotourism is environmentally and socially-conscientious tourism to natural areas of the world. Some of the activities associated with ecotourism are: 

 
  • Volunteering 
  • Observing a natural phenomenon 
  • Learning about the local flora and fauna
  • Enacting the principals of conservation 
  • Attending a class or lecture on local history
  • Low-impact interaction with natural surroundings
  Photo by Nick Karvounis

Photo by Nick Karvounis

WHAT ISN'T ECOTOURISM?
Ecotourism excludes activities that are unsustainable for the local environment and local culture. Any tourism that leaves a large impact on the land, or disrupts the daily way of life for the people in the area is not ecotourism. This includes:

 
  • Conventional "resorts" that create an insular experience for guests
  • High-impact recreational activities that pollute the air, water, or damage the landscape
  • Appropriation of local culture for the benefit of tourism corporations
  • Participation in the displacement of local people or wildlife
  Photos by Chaney Swiney

Photos by Chaney Swiney

TOURISM IN CENTRAL OREGON
Central Oregon's tourism industry has blossomed over the past decade, and Bend has become a very popular destination for visitors from all over the world. People visit Bend precisely for its pristine air, its gorgeous and diverse landscape, and the countless opportunities to commune with nature-- all of which become increasingly under threat with the increased practice of conventional tourism.

Visiting-Bend-Oregon
Volcano-Tour-Bend-Oregon

OUR COMMITMENT TO ECOTOURISM
We love Central Oregon with all our hearts and care deeply about protecting our natural resources. At the same time, we want to celebrate this amazing place, and share our knowledge with visitors and locals alike. That's why we've put a lot of thought and care into the tours that we lead, and choose to host low-impact, educational trips through this beautiful landscape. Activities like canoeing and snowshoeing are lower impact, and environmentally-friendly-- allowing us to help to protect Central Oregon while sharing our insights into this special place with our guests. 

HOW TO HELP? 
A great place to start is by signing up for events like our annual Cave Cleanup! We encourage you to seek out ways to be environmentally-friendly, whether you're just visiting or you're living full-time in Central Oregon. It's easier than one might think to tweak little things in our daily habits in order to help keep Central Oregon healthy, whether it's being more mindful of plastic consumption, buying locally-made goods, or perhaps opting for a bicycle over a car every once in a while. And when you want to go out and have fun, just take a second and consider the planet when choosing your activity!