Trio of Outdoor brands collaborate on “Wild Owyhee” film to raise awareness around public lands and protect Oregon’s Owyhee Canyonlands forever
Ibex Outdoor Clothing (Ibex), KEEN Inc. (KEEN) and Osprey Packs (Osprey) are pleased to announce the release of “Wild Owyhee.” This 14-minute film celebrates the beauty and treasure of Oregon’s Owyhee Canyonlands and drives awareness to the Owyhee Coalition, led by Oregon Natural Desert Association and their efforts to secure permanent protection of the public land.
“These unique stories paint a vivid picture of the Owyhee, an American treasure,” says Casey Sheahan, KEEN President. “This collaboration combines three storied outdoor brands united by values and inspired by an expansive land that beckons adventure and deserves protection. All three brands have played a vital role in the protection of America’s public lands, and ‘Wild Owyhee’ is an opportunity for Ibex, KEEN and Osprey to continue the dialogue with our fans in an effort to inspire outdoor adventure and preserve the places where we work and play.”
Very real threats are clawing at the edges of the Owyhee with 95-percent of Oregon’s Owyhee Canyonlands lacking any form of permanent protection. These threats include industrial oil and gas development, limited access resulting from mining, pollution to wildlife habitats and rivers as well as the desecration of sacred Native American sites. While the Obama administration considered the Owyhee for a national monument, the Owyhee proposal seeks Wilderness or National Conservation designation by Congress to protect 2.5 million acres in Southeast Oregon for generations to come.
Once protected, the Owyhee Canyonlands throughout Southeast Oregon and Idaho, which proclaimed parts of the Owyhee in Idaho Wilderness in 2009, will remain one of the largest, intact undeveloped areas in the lower 48 states. Encompassing three million total protected acres that span across Southeastern Oregon and Idaho, the Owyhee Canyonlands is larger than Yellowstone National Park.
“We all knew we wanted to collaborate on a project with the potential to have a lasting impact. Our shared membership with the Conservation Alliance was where the idea of focusing on the Owyhee region was born”, said Rob BonDurant, VP Product and Marketing at Osprey. “ONDA and the Owyhee Coalition have been amazing collaborators throughout this entire process and we look forward to seeing the groundswell of support that this increased awareness will generate. We hope that this project serves as an example and motivator for other brands to join forces and collaborate on significant projects that raise awareness and support public lands initiatives.”
“There are so many reasons to visit the Owyhee and so many unique things about this place to fall in love with,” says Corie Harlan, Owyhee Coordinator for Oregon Natural Desert Association. “It’s a landscape shaped by age-old forces. It’s a place where you can be totally present in the moment surrounded by incredible solitude and amazing remoteness. It’s really important that places like this are always here. And, that’s what permanent protection does, it says, ‘This will always be here for everyone to know, love, explore and enjoy.’
The film follows eight outdoor enthusiasts enjoying their respective passions as they hike, climb, camp, trail run, fly fish, hunt, horseback ride and explore the myriad of adventures on tap in the Owyhee. Pristine red-rock formations and pinnacles tailored to climbing and scrambling, an endless circuit of trails for solitary thru-hiking and adventurous trail running, some of the best stargazing and darkest night skies in the country free of light pollution, enormous vistas and breathtaking landscapes untouched by humans and flowing rivers that snake through canyons full of large, brown trout are all within the Owyhee.
“Showcasing the Owyhee Canyonlands’s 2.5 million pristine acres in two weeks was no easy task,” says Evan Kay, Video Manager at Ibex. “Our strategy was to select five user groups to highlight the numerous ways folks recreate and explore the Owyhee. Each character brought a new perspective and shed light on why the Owyhee is so special. I think Jereme, our talented trail runner from Bend, Oregon, summed it up the best when he described the Owyhee with only one word, saying it was ‘wild.’ The Owyhee is wild in all aspects from its climate and features to its untouched resources. We have an obligation as humans to protect these wild places for future generations, and as brands, we also need to work to protect these wild spaces because it’s the right thing to do, but also to ensure that our customers have wild places to explore!”
To join Ibex, KEEN and Osprey Packs in their efforts to protect the Owyhee Canyonlands for generations to come, please visit wildowyhee.org to sign the petition.
About Oregon Natural Desert Association: Now in its 30th year, the Oregon Natural Desert Association is a Bend-based nonprofit organization with a mission to protect, defend, and restore Oregon’s high desert. We’re working to protect stunning, ecologically significant areas in the Central Oregon Backcountry, Greater Hart-Sheldon Region, John Day River Basin and Owyhee Canyonlands, and we have long been involved in conservation efforts at Steens Mountain and the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Learn more at ONDA.org.
About Ibex: Founded in 1997 and headquartered in White River Junction, VT, Ibex is a designer of year-round premium Merino wool outdoor clothing and cycling apparel, founded in the belief of the superior natural performance and properties of wool. Ibex couples the natural renewable resource with technical innovation and inspired design to create apparel for a diverse range of outdoor and active pursuits and passions. Men’s and Women’s items are made from the best Merino wool fabrics sustainably sourced from New Zealand. All Ibex clothing and accessories are available for purchase online, in catalog and through outdoor specialty stores. For more information, please visit ibex.com.
About KEEN: KEEN Inc. is a values led, independently owned outdoor footwear brand from Portland, Oregon with a mission to responsibly create original and versatile products, improve lives, and inspire outside adventure. Founded in 2003, KEEN ignited a revolution in the footwear industry with the introduction of the Newport sandal, launching the concept of Hybrid footwear into the market and setting KEEN on a path of driving consistent product innovation that exists today. KEEN strives to live by its values, from its products to its actions, and by activating communities and individuals to protect and preserve the places where we work and play. KEEN passionately endeavors to live fulfilling lives, challenge the status quo, do good, give back, and inspire others. Learn more at www.keenfootwear.com.
About Osprey: Independent since 1974 and still anchored by the design genius of company founder and owner, Mike Pfotenhauer, Osprey Packs is a leader in technical packs for outdoor, cycling, travel and urban adventures. Osprey’s dedication to create innovative, high performance gear reflects the brand’s love of adventure and devotion to the outdoors. All Osprey products are backed by the brand’s All Mighty Guarantee. Osprey will repair any damage or defect for any reason free of charge – whether it was purchased in 1974 or yesterday. If Osprey is unable to perform a functional repair on a pack, they will happily replace it. Osprey Packs can be found online at www.ospreypacks.com and in outdoor specialty retailers in over 60 countries worldwide.