The trip to the Middle Owyhee River far in southeastern Oregon took an ominous turn when the van carrying the FIELD GUIDE crew and equipment got stuck in the middle of a muddy Harney County back road. Even before hitting the white water, it was going the way many OREGON FIELD GUIDE adventures go — unpredictably. Tune in the stations of Oregon Public Broadcasting television on Thursday, December 23 at 8:30pm for a trip down one of the wildest rivers in Oregon. Also see how a new fish hatchery lab may help Oregon’s salmon and find out why skiers love the Anthony Lakes ski area.

Middle Owyhee River - It took four hours to negotiate just 30 miles of muddy remote roads to reach the put in on the Middle Owyhee River. This isolated area boasts the steepest volcanic rock canyon in the world. The river is difficult to reach and runable only in the spring when the snowmelt brings the water up to navigable levels. It is so challenging that only six other groups had attempted the trip this season. What an adventure the FIELD GUIDE crew was in for. Precipitous rocky drops, boulders and head-high waves make this one of the toughest whitewater rivers in the country. Along with four guides and three guests, the FIELD GUIDE crew would experience harrowing accidents, grueling portages and incomparable scenery in one of their most challenging-ever exploits.

Fish Hatchery Lab - Every year 5 billion salmon are mass-produced in hatcheries. Most are released, go to sea and disappear. Scientists at the new Oregon Hatchery Research Center in Alsea are hoping their studies will yield definitive data about hatchery salmon. The facility — the first of its kind anywhere — will allow research on a larger scale than previously possible and hopefully aid in making decisions about measures to assure salmon survival.

Anthony Lakes Skiing - The Elkhorn Mountains in Eastern Oregon’s Baker County are known for great powder snow. Anthony Lakes ski area is a long ways from any of the state’s population centers, but those who take the trouble to find this place are rewarded with some of the finest skiing around. FIELD GUIDE “floats” down the mountain with some local skiers and then tries the new Sno Cat service, catching on with powder enthusiasts from throughout the state and county, to do some beautiful backcountry skiing.

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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 2:30am and 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.