A Brief Introduction to the Three Rivers Gun Range and Club...!!!

Posted on April 3, 2014 by Elaine Budden

Three Rivers Recreational Area – above Lake Billy Chinook – is a gated 4000 acre community with about 625 property owners and perhaps about a third of this acreage is ‘common lands’ belonging to the association for property owner use. It includes a dry desert golf course, paved airstrip, ATV trails, beach area and a gun range for use by property owners and their guests.

Some time around 1975 -- an area near an East property boundry was designated as a gun/rifle range. It was pretty simple and owners and guests used it whenever – often to site-in their hunting rifles and just to practice hand gun shooting.

Today we can actually say ‘we have come a long way baby’!!!

Like many other things – thru volunteer property owners (and sometimes their guests) who give of their time and often pay for some of the costs involved – we have a clean and SAFE gun range area and a Gun Club program. We have a pistol shooting area, a designated rifle shooting area and now a trap shooting area (and maybe an archery area in the future) for property owners and their guests.

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Thank You to all the Three Rivers Volunteers!

Snow, Snow, and Snow

Mid-week we had minus 3 degrees and today (February 11th) we may come close to hitting 50 degrees. In between we had any where from 30 inches to 3 feet of snow that started off as ‘soft and fluffy’ and as the weather warmed – it became heavier. Cleaning driveways, shoveling out vehicles and walkways and cleaning solar panels was the pastime of the week.

Road plowing by Kent Crook was spectacular – and definitely not an easy job and other property owners jumped in and helped – that is what we do in Three Rivers. 

Everyone was safe and hopefully took time to enjoy the beauty of what we had for a short time.

Especially for those who do not see Three Rivers during this time of year – enjoy the photos.

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A Tour of the Three Rivers Rec Area

posted on December 3, 2013 by Elaine Budden

Common Questions

I think one of the most common questions I am asked is ‘what do you do with folks who have an interest in looking at land and/or homes in this unique ‘off-the-grid area’ above Lake Billy Chinook.

So this Thanksgiving week is a perfect example to pass along. It is the Monday before Thanksgiving (which is my favorite time in this rural, quiet 4000 acre gated community)…I receive a call from folks from Eastern Washington. They would like to drive down on Wednesday to Madras; visit Three Rivers and head to Bend to spend Thanksgiving with family in Bend. Would I be available to show them Three Rivers on Thanksgiving morning. Since I am already here and they are making a 3 hour drive to get here – why wouldn’t I do that!!!

A Tour of Three Rivers

I meet Greg and Stephanie at the front gate at 10:00 a.m. and begin our ‘our 25 cent tour’ around Three Rivers starting at the gate and heading about five miles on the paved road to the Metolius River arm of the Lake. I explain that the dues are $550 a year and that money goes towards maintenance of roads, office expenses, etc. and that most of the improvements like our private gun range, dry desert golf and beach area are all done by volunteers. We are a very close community.

Fishing on the Lake, wakeboarding/skiing or just meandering around the Metolius, Deschutes and Crooked Rivers – ATV riding is very popular year-round. Our private gun range has both free time for property owners and their guests as well as more organized trap shoots and is open 7 days a week year-round. Dry desert golf (and frisbee golf) is a great family sport and free. MILLIONS of stars, deer, elk, wild turkeys (no hunting on the property) but there are hundreds of acres outside the Gate to hunt – it is the Metolius Unit hunting area. If you can’t find something to like hereI would be amazed. And we have a 5000 foot airstrip with about 2500 feet paved for property owners and their guests.

Off the Grid Living: Utilities and Amenities

The issues that concern most folks who have never been here is of course solar and how does it work – what does it cost? Not to oversimplify solar but it truly is a ‘piece of cake’…and hopefully folks learn to shut a light when you leave a room or turn off the TV when no one is watching it – those are things that one should do NO MATTER WHERE THEY LIVE!!!

And solar systems can be simple and an owner can add to it…you do not have to start with a state of the art system that may be way more than what will meet your needs. And you purchase your appliances at any appliance store – not a specialty shop.

Water supply is another commonly asked question. We have a commercial well service in Three Rivers and he fills your water tank/cistern -- at 7 cents a gallon a 1000 gallons of water is $70. How often you need to fill your cistern obviously depends on how often you are here, how many people and do you do the simple things like shut the water off and on when you brush your teeth. And again, you should do that wherever you live.

Phones are cell phones and a property owner can have Direct TV or Dish Network and I have wireless internet ($20/month) with a local Bend company – Webformix – who can set you up with a system to meet all your needs. See – you can live here full time and work and play!!!

So back to Greg and Stephanie…because they had never been to the Three Rivers Recreational Area – we took time to look at bare acreage and campsites – with and without views – and most parcels are 2 ½ to 5 acres – and we looked at cabins and properties that perhaps have a shop built (I call them ‘toy boxes’) and an owner can set up a campsite. Our CC&Rs do not require that an owner build a residence in any time frame. Most of our 625 property owners including my husband and me started out with simple campsites in the late 60’s/early 70’s. Who knew we would have homes valued at $2 or $3 million dollars – ALL OFF THE GRID.

It Takes a Special Kind of Person...

My time with Greg and Stephanie took about 3 hours and then I returned them to their vehicle at the 3R gate – wished them a Happy Thanksgiving and told them to visit again – call or e-mail with questions and would look forward to seeing them soon. We shall see.

Barbara Barany
Barbara Barany