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Preserving Land and Memories

I didn’t see the email at first. It was kicked into my junk mail. It came from a friend who still lives in the county. He was writing to spread the word about a timber company preparing to sell land on the East Moraine of Wallowa Lake, and the efforts of the Wallowa Land Trust to raise funds to conserve the land as a community forest. 

My earliest memories take place on the banks of that clear blue lake. Family legends are told of the nearby ranch my great-grandfather once owned, the trees my grandfather felled there, and the crash that convinced my dad to give up the motorcycle. I have my own memories too. No matter where I’ve been or how long I’m gone, the county is the only place that always feels like home.

When I read the email about the efforts to keep the land surrounding the lake public, I was reminded of another day at the lake. 

Holding his tuukas in one hand, Albert Red Star walks through the bunchgrass of the Zumwalt Prairie in Northeastern Oregon. His long black braids drape…

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