Wildhorse Ranch is surrounded by the Steens Mountain Wilderness in southeastern Oregon and adjacent to the Malhuer National Wildlife Refuge. Contained by descending ridges of Steens Mountain and the Alvord Desert, and bisected by Wildhorse Creek, the ranch represents a significant private ownership within the Great Basin Ranching territory. The ranch reveals generations of occupancy, by ranchers, cattle and wildlife. Under the current ownership, the ranch is evolving with a new purpose, a renewed spirit and a familiar indigenous character. Our initial inventory and analysis informed and guided every subsequent decision from master planning through design and ultimately into construction. The master plan considered the building program and ecological restoration in a holistic and integrated manner.
A dramatic increase in habitat was a wish of the owners and is consistent with habitat that might have existed historically on the ranch. Given the migratory patterns of wildlife and waterfowl within the region it should encourage a variety of new residents to the ranch. The consultant team created cross-sections of six different water bodies, indicating the distinct characteristics and potential habitat of each. The cross-sections are a tool to guide restoration of these channels in both design and construction.