In Wheeler County, we enjoy a quality of life that is rare and precious in the world today. There are 1800 square miles in the county, and fewer people, so the population concentration is over one square mile per person.
The geography is transitional mountain and high desert which is a rugged beauty of craggy mountains and canyons. Sage, juniper and pine trees populate the hillsides. We joke here that if we could sell rocks, we would all be millionaires. In all seriousness, though, those rocks contain some of the most valuable fossil records found so far on the face of the earth. In fact, the county seat (and our base of operations) is named Fossil for a reason. You can actually dig fossils in a hillside behind the local high school.
We live up to an hour and a half from the nearest major grocery store, fast-food restaurant or Wal-mart. But we are able to shop with the small local merchants. Friends run errands for neighbors when they go “out of town.” School activities, the local fair and rodeos are big events for the whole community. The local newspaper carries a column of news for each town in the county. We take pride in our communities and our way of life.
The outdoors have a great impact on our way of life. A large variety of wildlife make their homes in the hills and forests of Wheeler County. Deer, elk, antelope, bear, and porcupines range our country-sides, just to name a few. We enjoy a diversity of land and wildlife to which few can compare. The John Day Fossil Beds contain some of the richest deposits of ancient fossils in the world. Divided into three distinct areas across Wheeler County, each area is different, but stunningly beautiful. The Painted Hills Unit, located southwest of Fossil, contains the vividly colored hills that give our company our name. They truly are a magnificent sight.
The John Day River runs through the county offering a unique recreational opportunity that is enjoyed by locals and visitor alike. The river is floated, fished and photographed year round. Hiking, horseback riding, camping and hunting are also favorite area activities. Wheeler County also boasts the State of Oregon’s only 6-hole golf course, a challenging set of links nestled in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. Whatever your fancy, Wheeler County has the outdoors to do it.