BEND, OR -- The Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) helped organize a number of rallies calling for the end of the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Dan Morse with ONDA in Bend is happy to see it finally happen. "We're thankful that the takeover of the refuge has come to an end. We're certainly very grateful to law enforcement and elected officials who called for peace and justice, and a resolution of the situation."
His attention is now turning to returning the refuge to its pre-occupation condition. But, Morse tells KBND News, it will be a while before they can get in and assess things. "It's just too early to speculate on what kinds of tasks might be required. ONDA runs different volunteer efforts across Eastern Oregon's deserts, each year. Often times, there's things like repairing fences or making fences wildlife friendly, restoring vegetation or monitoring different conditions on the ground. Any of those could be possibilities at the refuge in the future." The FBI has said the facility and surrounding property must be swept for explosives then process any criminal evidence before clean-up can begin.
ONDA is asking for volunteers to sign up online
. "We put a call out to folks to pledge to volunteer to help restore the refuge, when the time is right. I think that's important to note," Morse says. "I think, no one knows yet how long it will be before law enforcement investigations come to an end, or before the Fish and Wildlife Service has had the ability to assess conditions at the refuge." So far 800 people have registered to volunteer.