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|Nyssa, Oregon is located just west of the Idaho border in Malheur County, along the Snake River and the Oregon Trail. Nyssa was originally a shipping center for sheep and stock on the Union Pacific's main trunk line. The original Fort Boise, established in the 1830s, is nearby to the southeast. The town of Nyssa was incorporated in 1903, although records conflict about the origin of the name of “Nyssa”. Some believe it is an acronym for “New York Sheep Shearing Association”, or N.Y.S.S.A., since large flocks of sheep were raised here early in the towns history. Some say the railroad named the town: The engineer who named this town had his daughter with him on the train and he asked her to pick out a name. She was studying ancient history at the time; her book was open to St. Gregory of Nyssa. She picked Nyssa as the town's name. Others still say the town was named for a Native American word meaning “sagebrush”.
Nyssa is also known as “The Gateway to Oregon” and the “Thunderegg Capital of the World” in reference to the geologic nodules which occur within other igneous rocks, similar to geodes.
Today the primary industry in the region is agriculture, including the cultivation of Russet potatoes, sugar beets, onions, corn, mint, and wheat. The city's economy relies greatly on the surrounding agricultural area; its several large onion and potato packaging plants. Until 2005, the Amalgamated Sugar Company (White Satin brand) owned and operated a sugar-processing plant that served as a main source of commerce.
A quiet, close-knit community, Nyssa offers wonderful opportunities for those just starting a family or those looking to retire to a place with a little bit slower pace.
Great recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, boating and snow skiing abound and are all within two hours in almost any direction. The Snake River provides a constant source of recreational opportunities year-round. The tall cliffs provide a stunning backdrop to boating and fishing on nearby Lake Owyhee. The dry desert climate (only ten inches of rain per year) brings great sunshine almost year round.
Lake Owyhee State Park lies next to a 53-mile-long lake formed by the Owyhee Dam, and framed by breathtaking views of the Owyhee Mountains. A scenic boat trip up the lake from the park is one of the many great experiences to be had here. There is more here than just great scenery: say hello to some of the locals! Bighorn sheep and pronghorn antelope live in the area, as well as golden eagles, coyotes, mule deer, wild horses and even the occasional mountain lion. Fossil-fiends and hikers alike are also welcome in this wilderness paradise; many use the park as base camp for exploring the badlands of Oregon.
The towering rock structures of Succor Creek Canyon rise above prime riparian habitat and rock-hounding grounds. Though it is considered a “primitive” park area, Succor Creek provides opportunities for camping, picnicking, wildlife viewing, bird watching, and rock hounding. This is also prime territory for finding those much talked about Thundereggs!
Located near the Succor Creek area, Leslie Gulch is a vast and striking landscape of volcanic tuff towers and rocky spires. Leslie Gulch is known for its wind blown rock formations, wildflowers, camping, and access to Lake Owyhee. This picturesque place where wind, water, and time have created unusually sculpted towers, pinnacles, and intricate multiple layered spires is both beautiful and other-worldly.
Opportunities for the angler abound in Southeast Oregon. With lakes both big and small dotting the landscape its almost as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. The Owyhee River, upper and lower, is a fine place to pull a few smallmouth bass, hatchery trout or channel catfish out of the water. Warm Springs reservoir is also nearby; there you can find catfish, perch, white crappie, and smallmouth bass. With over 20 other area lakes, rivers, and reservoirs there is no short supply of places to get your line wet.