▶️ Central Oregon touring company turns over a new leaf

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A local favorite for discovering the natural wonders the High Desert has to offer is beginning a new chapter.

Wanderlust Tours, an iconic touring company in Central Oregon is getting a new life thanks to some familiar faces.

“That was always my hope if I could pass the company on to someone who has already been affiliated with Wanderlust,” said Dave Nissen, the founder of Wanderlust.

That hope is a reality for Nissen, who started the touring company in his van in 1993.

“I started guiding for Wanderlust just over ten years ago and have always loved the mission from the very beginning,” said Courtney Braun, the new co-owner of Wanderlust.

Longtime guides Braun and Jared Garfield bought the company from Nissen and his wife Aleta to continue the legacy of loving the outdoors.

“To ensure that what Dave spent so long building remains,” Braun said.

“Of course, the education over the years for all of natural and cultural history has filled my soul,” Nissen said about his time at Wanderlust.

The new owners hope to expand the volun-tourism program focused on clean-up efforts for Central Oregon’s natural features.

They also hope to create a scholarship program for more people hoping to experience the outdoors.

“You know most people when they ask about what we’re excited for want to know the changes and I guess my big statement is we hope that you don’t see too much,” Braun said.

“I’m grateful, ever so grateful that Courtney and Jared decided to pick up the baton or carry the mantle,” Nissen said.

As for Dave and Aleta, they’ll be spending their retirement with their daughter and continuing to give back to the Central Oregon community.

But don’t be surprised if you see them on a tour or two.

“Wanderlust won’t be able to get rid of me too quickly,” Nissen said.

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