Copyright © 1995, Don Baccus
All images copyright © 1995, Don Baccus
The Malheur Field Station is run by the non-profit Great Basin Society, which receives no government funding. The site was once a Job Corps facility which was turned over to a consortium of colleges in the 1970s, to be used as an educational facility, and was later placed under the independent control of the Society. Its primary focus is still to provide lodging, classrooms, and laboratory space to schools for all ages, Elderhostel programs, and field trips. The general public can stay on a space-available basis, and in spring reservations are a necessity.
The Field Station lies in the north end of the refuge, just a few miles from Refuge Headquarters. You can choose between renting a bed in one of the dormitories, a private trailer. or a space for your own RV. The trailers and some of the dorms have kitchens. There is also a cafeteria that serves up food that will remind you of your freshman year of college. Cheap, but nothing to write home - or web pages - about.
When I visit the area, I usually rent a trailer here and cook my own meals, or camp at the south end of the Refuge in the BLM's Page Springs Campground.
The first-time visitor to the Field Station will probably be struck by the apparently barren landscape, but a closer look will uncover lots of life in the station itself as well as the sageland surrounding it.
Barn, cliff, tree, and violet-green swallows all nest here, along with the plaintively-calling Say's Phoebe.
California quail and common nighthawk are common, and in the morning you are bound to hear western meadowlark singing.
The south slope of South Coyote Butte is the best place on the refuge to see black-throated sparrow, and Brewer's sparrow is common here.
At night listen for coyote wailing, and great-horned owls hooting.