'The Wallowa.' This quiet, beautiful valley and its surrounding mountains and canyons is among Oregon’s most treasured places. The home of Hells Canyon, the Wallowa Mountains and Wallowa Lake, the famous history of Old and Young Chief Joseph, its scenery and wildness largely intact, the Wallowa Country boasts a strong and diverse agricultural base, an emerging arts community, and a recent legacy of cooperation and respect between Indian people and those who occupy the valley today. The large number and various sizes of productive farms and ranches attest to the prominent role agriculture plays in the economy and culture of Wallowa County. At the same time, ties to Nez Perce people who occupied these lands since time immemorial run deep. Today, tribal members continue to pursue traditional activities, such as hunting and fishing, with rights reserved by treaty, and are involved in an ambitious cooperative fisheries restoration effort with state and federal agencies. One of the valley’s greatest natural resources, and most economically significant assets, is its open space. Whether serving as wildlife habitat, agricultural lands, cultural sites or scenic viewsheds, or some combination thereof, open ground underscores the essence of the Wallowa Country. Its continued existence is important to the future economy and livability of the entire county, and to Northeast Oregon as a region. Over the past few years, as new housing developments have begun creeping up the spectacular moraines of Wallowa Lake, into prime agricultural lands and other sensitive areas, the local landscape has begun to display the effects of inappropriate growth. The Wallowa Land Trust was formed in 2004 by Wallowa County citizens to work proactively with landowners and others to provide alternatives to development.
For most people, to enter Wallowa County is to love it. It is as if this country had been blessed with the spirit of love of home which first found articulate expression in young Chief Joseph.
And so, the happy valley--the wonderful valley--the beloved land--all are true of the country, and to the hope that they will continue to be so, we dedicate this book.
-Grace Bartlett & J.H. Horner, Wallowa County's premier historians, dedication their book Wallowa (1949)