Letter to the Deschutes Wilderness Community

To Our Deschutes Community, 

We have made the difficult decision to end our outdoor program operations by April 30th, 2024, and shift our energy toward more accessible options such as residential treatment. 

Thank you for your support over the years. We have brought healing to over a thousand families since we opened in 2013. We have so many fond memories of the lives saved and improved by the power of our nature-based, relational, trauma informed programming.  

Over the last couple of years many barriers came up that limited access to our services, including lack of funding sources, a negative spotlight on outdoor therapy, and Oregon legislation.  We recognize that students and families are in need. Our community fought admirably to limit these barriers and bring the highest quality of mental health care to our young people and families.  

While we are not accepting new enrollments, our valued team members and beloved golden retrievers will ensure all current students can complete their treatment and graduate with a focus on great outcomes. We will continue our community visits, fish the local river, and find fun in the outdoors together as we always have.  

Each staff member will have the opportunity to transition to nearby residential programs in Bend and Klamath Falls, Oregon, where we will continue to bring our affection for healing in nature. We will hold a special time to reunite with our alumni students and families as well as an event for all alumni staff as part of the transition. 

While our program operations are ending, the great people that have been part of it will continue to lead the way in making our world a healthier place. Many alumni staff have taken Director roles in other organizations, completed advanced clinical degrees, and helped various community service organizations grow. We value our relationships with all of you and hope to continue learning and growing together, while we remain committed to healing the adolescent and young adult mental health crisis in our country.  

We are so grateful to everyone who has been part of outdoor therapy over the years – from students and families, field guides and therapists, to support staff, providers, policy makers, advocates, and more. 

Please reach out to us if you have any questions, ascott@dwtbend.com. 

With sincere gratitude, 

Andrew and The Deschutes Management and Clinical Team