154.3 m. State 78 and unnumbered roads.
A gravel road, frequently closed during heavy snows; south of Crane dirt roads
usually impassable after a heavy rain. Water available only at settlements.
The Oregon Short Line Railroad parallels route between Burns and Crane.
State 78 follows the Silvies River and skirts the eastern end of Mal-
heur Lake, crossing the nearly level floor of the Harney Basin. Swing-
ing southward the route crosses a desolate area bordering the eastern
scarp of Steens Mountain. For many miles there are few traces of human
habitation or animal life, except an occasional jackrabbit scampering
across the road, a sandhill crane on a dune, or an eagle soaring over
the rimrock. Except for the rare patches of wild hay and alfalfa of the
valleys, the only vegetation is bunch grass, sagebrush, rabbit brush, and
juniper, with an occasional row of Lombardy poplars. At the southern
end, the route penetrates the district of the borax development of the
Branching from US 395 at Burns, 0 m., (see TOUR 5a), State 78
crosses the SILVIES RIVER, 0.9 m., and continues through a par-
tially irrigated area.
LAWEN, 16.7 m. (4,101 alt., 50 pop.), was named for Henry
Lauen, a settler of 1867. This settlement, with a white schoolhouse,
was on the shore of Malheur Lake before it receded. The lake, four
miles south, is now part of the Malheur Migratory Bird Refuge, estab-
lished by executive order, August 18, 1908, when the government set
aside 95,155 acres. Since then the "P" Ranch, a 65,000-acre tract for-
merly owned by Peter French, has been obtained, and with the acquisi-
tions now in progress the total acreage of the refuge will be 169,775.
Two C.C.C. camps are maintained and to prevent the lake from over-
flowing an extensive dike and canal system has been constructed. The
dike, 70 feet wide at the base and 20 feet at the top, runs in a north and
south direction for ten miles.
Each summer large numbers of redheads, ruddy ducks, mallards,
gadwalls, cinnamon teal, pintails, shovelers, and blue-winged teal nest
on the refuge. In addition there are sandhill cranes, pelicans, terns,
gulls, egrets, herons, ibises, and grebes. About 100 mule deer and many
antelope are in the refuge and it is well-stocked with beavers, racoons,
minks, and muskrats.
South of Lawen is an arid ranch country, sparsely cultivated. Wind-
mills rise above the few weathered habitations, and strands of wire