Whitetails of the Columbia

Our county’s most unique mammal may be the Columbian White-tailed Deer. Just 50 years ago these beautiful creatures were nearly extinct, hanging on in a few islands in the Columbia River. In 1978 another small population was discovered at the southern end of the Willamette Valley. The subspecies was added to the federal Endangered SpeciesContinue reading “Whitetails of the Columbia”

Old Highway 30 and Little Jack Falls

Imagine a Columbia County with no roads. It’s easy if you try – I grew up with family members older than that. In 1899, E. Henry Wemme, a German-American businessman based in Portland, brought the first car to Oregon. Before the roads came, newcomers traveling by boat and wagon built a small mill on theContinue reading “Old Highway 30 and Little Jack Falls”

Loooong hike with Sophia on Banks-Vernonia Trail

On occasion we give Rosey a break and take Sophia out for the day. Matt and I got ambitious and decided to take the little girl on a two-leg stretch of the Banks-Vernonia State Trail. Sure it was a big chunk to bite off, sure there were rainstorms forecast all day, but we were upContinue reading “Loooong hike with Sophia on Banks-Vernonia Trail”

Bushwhacking to a Pygmy Owl

Small owls warm my heart. On a day when we had to push through too much brush, soak our shoes thoroughly, and see few herps in the cold air….a little owl sighting made it all worth it. Matt and I drove into central Columbia County and took an ancient logging road into some medium-young forest.Continue reading “Bushwhacking to a Pygmy Owl”

Fall walk at Nob Hill Nature Park

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 leastContinue reading “Fall walk at Nob Hill Nature Park”

Name this waterfall!

This mirrored treasure is visible from your car, but you’re an official veteran of Columbia County’s backroads (and proximate to some colorful history) if you can have seen it in person and remember where it is. (If you want to show you’ve been there before without giving away the location, just write in the commentsContinue reading “Name this waterfall!”

Morning stroll around Salmonberry Reservoir

I took a quick look at the Salmonberry Reservoir this morning. The small lake is part of the St. Helens Tree Farm property owned by the City of St. Helens. The property is gated less than a half-mile before the reservoir, which allows a quiet walk in along an easy gravel road. Varied Thrush wereContinue reading “Morning stroll around Salmonberry Reservoir”

CZ Trail: Scappoose to Chapman Landing

Most of Columbia County is forested hills aligned with the foothills of the Coast Range to the west. But there’s a portion of the county along the Columbia River, especially around Scappoose, made up of wetland flats aligned with the ecology of the Willamette Valley to the south. Those wetlands can be experienced on theContinue reading “CZ Trail: Scappoose to Chapman Landing”