Prineville, Ore. — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has recently completed the acquisition of approximately 4,000 acres of property along the lower John Day Wild and Scenic River from the Western Rivers Conservancy. This strategic acquisition marks a significant milestone in enhancing recreational access along the river.
This newly acquired property, commonly known as McDonald’s Ferry, is situated approximately 14 miles east of Wasco, on the western bank of the John Day River near McDonald’s Crossing. McDonald’s Crossing is a historically significant site where countless emigrants traveling west on the Oregon Trail once traversed the Lower John Day River.
Kyle Hensley, BLM Central Oregon Field Manager, expressed enthusiasm about this development, stating, “This acquisition opens doors to expand recreation and hunting access along the John Day River. It will also provide BLM and our partners with the opportunity to restore rangeland and riparian health throughout the property.”
Funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, this acquisition represents the latest addition to the public lands along the John Day River. The Land and Water Conservation Fund, established by Congress in 1964, is dedicated to the preservation of natural areas, water resources, cultural heritage, and the provision of recreational opportunities for all Americans. For more information, please visit https://www.doi.gov/lwcf.
Public access to the McDonald’s Ferry property is available via McDonald’s Ferry Lane. For river use, permits can be obtained through www.Recreation.gov. The area is open to dispersed camping, but it’s important to note that restroom facilities and potable water are currently unavailable. To prevent wildfires, we encourage responsible practices, such as staying on the main county road, avoiding parking on dry grass, and refraining from using off-highway vehicles in the area.