Laurence Memorial Grasslands Preserve (The Nature Conservancy)

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From Shaniko (45.003596, -120.753747): Head south (actually SSW) on Highway 218 towards Antelope. Proceed approximately 3.7 miles south, then turn right (west) onto an unnamed, county-maintained dirt road (Rooper Road on some maps gps = 44.953740, -120.728969). Signs say the road is not maintained in winter, but it is graded once a year and any vehicle can negotiate it safely in dry conditions. If you find yourself dropping into a canyon you’ve gone about 0.5 miles too far. Note: Even with 4WD the road can be slippery and treacherous during heavy rains. Go west on the unnamed county road — which proceeds at a level or sometimes slightly downhill grade— for 3.2 miles, to the locked gate. This is the south east corner of the preserve. There is a sign and stairs over the barbed wire fence. The road becomes private at this point and even if by chance the gate is open, do not drive on further west as the gate may be locked again at any time and is also locked on the other end. You may however, walk on the road to gain access to the former preserve entrance in the middle of the south boundary of the preserve. This gives better direct access to the central and western portions of the preserve.


Habitat and Birds

One of Oregon’s best kept secrets, this location is not often birded but offers the birder a true glimpse into the past and a chance to bird habitat that closely resembles native grasslands. Western Meadowlarks sing throughout the summer while Savannah and Vesper Sparrows nest in good numbers. Grasshopper Sparrow may occur here but that is for future birding sojourns to determine. This is a good place to stop on the way to or from Antelope or Clarno.