High desert pronghorn

  In the northern reaches of the Great Basin, a herd of more than 6,000 pronghorn antelope roams across a high desert range. Two islands of this vast desert are protected by federal refuges, but thousands of acres that straddle the Oregon-Nevada border separate them. A coalition of environmental groups led by the Oregon Natural Desert Association wants to link the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge and the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge by protecting a total of 1.1 million acres. The concept is explained in the ONDA's 16-page "Proposal for the Nomination of the Pronghorn Area of Critical Environmental Concern." It notes that before European settlement, the West's pronghorn population was estimated at between 30 million and 40 million and the animal's original range extended beyond that of the bison.

For a copy of the proposal, contact the Oregon Natural Desert Association at 732 SW Third Ave., Ste. 407, Portland, OR 97204 (503/228-9720). It can also be viewed at www.onda.org. The BLM has just begun considering the proposal and will accept comments at BLM, 1000 S. Ninth St., Lakeview, OR 97630.

* Dustin Solberg
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