A couple weeks ago I took a stroll at the Nob Hill Nature Park. The trail was basically empty. It provided a quiet place of beauty in the middle of downtown St. Helens.
Driving up to the Plymouth Street entrance, I noticed that the adjacent water treatment facility sported quite a few birds. At least six species of ducks, two species of gulls, and a kingfisher were in view.
The park itself was green and peaceful. Oak, ferns, and meadow dominated different areas. There was a small walkway over a vernal wetland. Birds were everywhere – I saw Dark-eyed Juncos, Spotted Towhees, Song Sparrows, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, California Scrub-Jays, Bushtits, Black-capped Chickadees, and others.
Poking around the ground revealed ample life at the lowest level, including several species of woodland salamander.
Though it only preserves a small area, the park is a worthwhile addition to local biodiversity and a place for children and others to experience a piece of nature. I plan to return in the spring to see what wildflowers and reptiles might appear in a different season.
Nob Hill Nature Park at a glance
What: nature trail, birdwatching
Where: From Highway 30 in St. Helens, turn east on Gable Road, continue left on Old Portland Road, and then bear right on Plymouth Street, reaching the water treatment plant at 451 Plymouth Street. The park is across from the plant (45.8563, -122.7997). There is also access from 3rd and 4th Street.
Hiking: 1/3 mile nature trail
Notable Wildlife: Bald Eagle, woodpeckers, songbirds, White-breasted Nuthatch. Waterfowl and other birds are prevalent at the adjacent water-treatment plant.
Property status: City of St. Helens