OREGON FIELD GUIDE takes viewers on a trip down one of the most dangerous big rivers in the state — the Illinois. Experienced guides show us it’s also one of the more beautiful. Tune in to the stations of Oregon Public Broadcasting on Thursday, January 27 at 8:30pm for a wild ride.

The Illinois is one of the last major undammed rivers in Oregon and water levels can fluctuate wildly and very quickly. With class three to four rapids, one right after another, only experienced rafters should navigate the whitewater of the Illinois River in southwest Oregon’s Kalmiopsis Wilderness. Treacherous passages like the Green Wall test rafters’ skill and bravery. But with scenic shorelines and peaceful surroundings, expert guides show us how the Illinois, when taken seriously, can be enjoyed as one of Oregon’s most beautiful rivers.

Then it’s off to the Zumwalt Prairie, a vast grassland of rolling hills in Wallowa County that is home to a wide variety of animals. The Zumwalt Prairie Preserve is the largest purchase made by the Nature Conservancy in Oregon. This rolling prairie is a fragile ecosystem that is home to 15 species of raptors, like the red-tail hawk and the short-eared owl. Ecologists such as Dennis Sheehy study the effects of 100 years of homesteading and cattle grazing to determine how best to manage these delicate grasslands.

And explore Knappton Cove on the Columbia River, a place that around the turn of the century was an entry point for immigrants coming to the United States.

Videos of the stories featured on FIELD GUIDE are available at opb.org/programs/ofg/ or watch entire programs at watch.opb.org.

Check out the FIELD GUIDE blog at blogs.opb.org/fieldjournal/ or follow us on facebook at facebook.com/oregonfieldguide.


In its 22nd season, OREGON FIELD GUIDE remains a valuable source of information about outdoor recreation, ecological issues, natural resources and travel destinations. OREGON FIELD GUIDE airs Thursday evenings at 8:30pm on the television stations of Oregon Public Broadcasting and repeats on Sundays at 1:30am and 6:30pm. In the Mountain Time zone of Eastern Oregon, the program airs at 9:30pm Thursdays, and at 7:30pm Sundays.

About OPB

OPB is the largest cultural and education institution in the region, delivering excellence in public broadcasting to 1.5 million people each week through television, radio and the Internet. Widely recognized as a national leader in the public broadcasting arena, OPB is a major contributor to the program schedule that serves the entire country. OPB is one of the most-used and most-supported public broadcasting services in the country and is generously supported by 120,000 contributors.