John Day Fossil Beds

Beautiful and remote, the John Day Fossil Beds is a large area of mostly semi-desert in eastern Oregon. It was named after an early Oregon pioneer who traveled through the area around 1811. For the most part, the region is characterized by shrublands, badlands and riparian zones. Seasonal temperatures can fluctuate widely, ranging from in the high 90s (Fahrenheit) during the days, then dropping to below freezing at night. Its remote location, scarcity of water and rugged conditions meant it was (and still is) sparsely populated when compared to other parts of Oregon. Native Americans were the primary residents up until the 1864 discovery of extensive fossil beds by an amateur paleontologist named Thomas Condon. Part of the area became a national monument in 1975 and is still considered one of the best sites in the world for the study of fossils from the Cenozoic Era.

  • John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

    Category: Landmark Place

    Located in eastern Oregon, the John Day Fossil Beds is one of the best repositories of fossils from the Cenozoic Era, or the Age of Mammals.

  • Sternberg, Charles H.

    Category: Science Tool

    Although considered an amateur in the field of paleontology, Charles Sternberg was a pioneer who perfected many scientific techniques still used today in the recovery of fossilized remains.

  • Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

    Category: Landmark Place

    Established in the early twentieth century after the area's bird population was decimated by hunting, the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is today one of the best birding sites in Oregon.

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