Alkali Lake, Oregon

“Gray Butte, Gib Juniper Mountain and Alkali Lake. Lake County, Oregon” in 1904 (USGS-mwc00563) and in 2016 (CW-2016-04-19-0974). Moving westwards and southwards from an area occupied by bison, if only briefly near Malheur Lake, the traveller is impressed by vast valleys interspersed by ridges that seemingly might have historically been good bison habitat. Today, a similarly dry landscape on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake with several springs supports up to 20 bison per square kilometer.  However, the Alkali Lar area is habitat is well west of source bison populations on the upper Snake River, has few water sources,  and the few bison that did disperse this far west would face high predation rates from human hunters. 1

Notes and Map


  1. Van Vuren, Dirk. “Bison West of the Rocky Mountains: An Alternative Explanation.” Northwest Science 61 (1987): 65-69.