Dean M. Chriss
John Day Fossil Beds, Painted Hills, Clearing Storm

Painted Hills, Clearing Storm

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After three days of nearly constant heavy rain, it was our last evening at the Painted Hills. We almost didn't bother going into the national monument that evening, but I'm glad we did. Just before sunset the sky started clearing, offering the only glimpse of blue sky we had seen all week.

Three tiny and widely separated units of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument protect a total of just 14,000 acres of the unique five million acre John Day Basin. The basin is like nowhere else on the planet but the vast majority of it is occupied by ranches, farms, and resource extraction sites that are forever altering the landscape.