Northwest Rockhound Retreat

Important...Click here for the latest regarding the Northwest Rockhound Retreat!

Labor Day Week
OMSI camp at Hancock Field Station about halfway between Antelope and Fossil, Oregon. This is a weeklong event of learning and sharing.


NW Rockhound Retreat
c/o Walt Butler
8821 SW Equestrian Place
Terrebonne, OR 97760

Important Notice and Tips to view

2024 Registration Form to Open and Print

Information about the NW Rockhound Retreat!

Due to the fact that this property is in the middle of a National Monument, we are subject to much closer scrutiny than other properties. We have gone through a lengthy process and here are the parameters that we will work with this year. Our group is the only one that is allowed to bring RV’s on the property so we have a privilege no other can get.

  •  NO PETS. Exceptions will be made for service animals, but they must be registered with me 45 days prior to the event so that I can notify the camp Manager within 30 days. No animal waste may be left on the OMSI or NPS property. Animals may not be allowed to run loose.
  • Smoking is prohibited . If a group participant chooses to smoke they need to first check in with the Manager to find a designated space, and the smoker is responsible for cleaning up and packing out all cigarette butts.
  • Alcohol. Alcohol is permitted, but must be consumed in moderation and under control. Guests must dispose of all alcohol containers offsite from Hancock Field Station.
  • Earliest arrival time is 3pm. Hancock Field Station staff are cleaning and preparing the site from the previous group and are not able to accommodate early arrivals. Because of this, group participants arriving before 3pm will be asked to leave and come back at the appropriate time.
  • Parking. Parking is allowed in designated areas only. The camp manager is responsible for all parking management and any issues or concerns that arise. Group participants must follow the  direction and decisions of the camp manager. There is no parking or waiting allowed on the National Park Service Road that connects Hwy. 218 to the Hancock Field Station. There is also no parking or waiting on the Hancock Driveway which is also a designated fire  lane. These roadways are required by State and Federal guidelines to remain open to allow emergency vehicles access to Hancock Field Station. Once at Hancock guests are not allowed to drive over drainage ditches in order to park a vehicle on the other side.
  • Housing and RV’s. OMSI will provide privacy curtains for use in the larger a-frame cabins upon request. There is a maximum of 10 partial hookups for RV,s. Six will be used by Instructors leaving only 4 RV,s for use by participants and those must be under 26 feet..

 This means that if you plan on bringing an RV, the first 4 under 26 feet will be allowed. All others will be assigned cabins for the program.

We are all back at work and putting the pieces in place to make our Retreat at “Hancock Field Station” West of Fossil , Oregon, become a  bigger and better annual event. The timing is the same as last year, starting on Monday September 4, 2023, and ending on Sunday September 10, 2023. The cost to the attendee will be  $350.00 for room and board,  $75.00 for workshop fee. If you take the full package, that will be $425.00 for a one week vacation. What a deal. You should not miss this. If you must have an Electric RV hookup (no water or sewer), Provide your own cord.

The Agenda outline looks like this:
Monday, Arrive after 3PM and get settled in your temporary home, then join a Spaghetti Feed at 6:30PM.
Tuesday, All day in the Workshop of your choice and an evening program.
Wednesday, Trip to Fossil Beds or Workshop activities with an evening Swap Session, no selling.
Thursday, Workshop activities all day with an evening program session.
Friday, Workshop activities all day with an evening program session.
Saturday, Workshops all day with an evening session of feedback from you as to what you want next year. A “Show and Tell” session from the Workshops and concluded with an oral auction of donated items.
Sunday morning, Have breakfast, clean your cabins and give fond farewells till next year.

Workshops available - based upon signup:
Lapidary Shop (intro and advanced training in use of rock saws, grinding wheels and polishers)
Silver smithing (working with silver to make jewelry) (Maximum of Eight)
Metal Techniques -  (using various metals, and tools, enameling to make jewelry) - (Maximum of Eight)
Basic and advanced Intarsia - (using multiple materials to make composite cabs) – (Minimum of Four)
Wire wrapping
Rock Carving (using grinding tools to carve soft rock)
Doublets & Triplets- Making cags with multiple layers– (Maximum of Eight)


If you need additional info, please call Walt Butler at 503-702-5743. or Email at



Registration - Cost includes Breakfast and Evening Dinner with a Sack Lunch, sleeping quarters in  an A frame cabin, (Bring your own bedding and pillow) (Mattress provided), or Dry Camping for an RV. No hookups available. Tenting is the same price as RV or A frame.
            6 Day Total = $350.00 plus Workshop fee of $75.00. Total without RV is $425.00
    Meals furnished.

If you can’t stay the full time we can break it down by the day. This would mean $57.00 per day, plus the Workshop Fee to take advantage of this great program..

Workshop Cost:        $75.00 for Workshop (One fee covers all)– Choose Primary and Secondary’s.
            Lapidary - Provide your own rough or purchase ours at nominal fee from instructors.
            Silver smithing - Fee per project to instructor. Provide your own stones if you want. All Participants
    must provide eye wear for safety purposes.
            Wire wrapping – Bring your own wire or buy from inst., Provide your own stones or purchase from
     instructor. If you have your own tools, please bring them. We will have some
            Intarsia – Per Project cost provides full kit with materials from instructor.
 All Participants must  provide eye wear for safety purposes.
            Doublets & Triplets – How to cap and or back, plume, moss and opals or anything else. Purchase
  supplies from Instructor or bring your own.
            When moving to a new Workshop, Confirm with incoming Instructor for available space.

We must have a minimum of 20 people register to make it all happen with a maximum of 52. Please send registration in as soon as possible because we must let the camp know by June if we have enough to go. That means at least 20. Help us keep this great activity going. Registration is first come, first served.

The “Swap Session” is a place to swap materials, arts, crafts, rocks or anything that someone else might want. No money will change hands, just goods.




(Plan to bring your own good quality slabs, or purchase from instructors)

We will be teaching beginning cabochon making and also advanced cab making to those qualified cabbers who wish to learn how to make free-form cabs or just learn to be a better cabochon cutter. We can help you if you plan on participating in competition.
We have multiple workstations utilizing both diamond and carborundum, High Speed Sanders, 18” slab saws, small trim saws, a large flat polisher, and leather with Optical Cerium Oxide polishers.
Instructors are Master Cutters.



Again we are addressing the needs of the beginning wrapper but will also be teaching advance techniques such as double units and bracelets. Instructor will have Wire available for you to buy for your projects as well as stones. It would be nice if you brought your own stones to wrap and your own tools. The Instructor, Darlene Wozniak, will try to contact you prior to the Retreat, but if you need more info, e-mail her at


The Instructor will have a kit for your first project that you must purchase. If you have brought your own material, you may use it after finishing the first project. If you do not have your own material, the Instructor will have a limited amount available at a reasonable price. There will be enough equipment to handle at least 10 people. This class will last for a maximum of 2 ½ days so that a second class can be done within the week. Advanced would be available if so desired.


Working with mixed metals the student will form, solder and color the jewelry they make in class. Enameling techniques and Etching will also be taught in this class.



In this class you will learn the art of capping an opal with optical quartz to create a fine gem stone. This will also give you the ability to use quartz caps for other stones and also how to back a stone with colored material to give a stunning background and better show a plume or moss agate, Instructor will be charging for Quartz caps and for cost of Glue or you can purchase kits for a complete project.


A Maximum of 8 students:. Each Student must bring Safety Glasses (Required), and Opti-Visor if needed for close work. All tools and supplies are provided by the Instructor; and a minimal fee will be charged for each project. They will charge you for all Silver and stones that you take from the Instructor’s supply. The tools are for your use based on the per project Fee. This is a basic class with a lot more information available for those that learn fast.