Berry picking season in the forest

Oregon has the best berries in the world. Everyone knows our about blueberry farms, marionberry syrup, sweet local strawberries and the ubiquitous Himalayan blackberry. But dive into the forest and you can find native berries that have been part of Oregon’s bounty for much, much longer. One of our family’s favorite hiking spots is theContinue reading “Berry picking season in the forest”

Searching for the long lost Kerry Tunnel

Nehalem Divide is the most famous logging railroad tunnel in Columbia County, but it wasn’t the largest. That honor belongs to Kerry Tunnel, a landmark so grown over and remote that few residents even know it exists. Both entrances to the tunnel were blown over 80 years ago to keep people from going inside, andContinue reading “Searching for the long lost Kerry Tunnel”

Rare and extirpated butterflies of Columbia County

Butterflies are often the most endangered insects. Some of their caterpillars can only survive on select host plants, so if their habitats are destroyed and the host plants disappear, the butterflies disappear as well. Of the 65 species of butterfly native to Columbia County, 15 are now gone or nearly gone from our part ofContinue reading “Rare and extirpated butterflies of Columbia County”

The ancient dam that powered Vernonia

As the crow flies we were half-a-mile southwest of Keasey Road when we discovered the relics of a forgotten dam in Rock Creek. Too bad we can’t fly like crows. It took a LOT more work to get there, especially since we didn’t know there was a “there” to find. So here’s how we foundContinue reading “The ancient dam that powered Vernonia”

Do you want to survey turtles with us?

Wild Columbia is working together with the Oregon Native Turtle Working Group and Scappoose Bay Watershed Council to organize turtle surveys this spring and summer. We’re trying to survey every potential water body in Columbia County. Do you want to help? To volunteer, you have to attend a training day. The first one will beContinue reading “Do you want to survey turtles with us?”

A quiet retreat tucked in the Scappoose hills

At the end of Gilkison Road on the very edge of Scappoose sits a forest getaway most residents have never heard of. Vedanta Retreat is a culturally unique blend of hiking trails, meditation seats, and shrines to the world’s major religions. It is situated in some of the region’s oldest forest (on one trail IContinue reading “A quiet retreat tucked in the Scappoose hills”

Migrating amphibians – have you seen a toad?

As rain falls and the temperature warms up, frogs and salamanders have been out and about. Perhaps they’ve been stopping in your yard or crossing your roads at night. You may have heard them call from your local ponds, or even seen them floating in the water. Where did they come from? Spring is theContinue reading “Migrating amphibians – have you seen a toad?”

Discovering Clatskanie Falls

I was reading old USFWS documents trying to find information on the Bonnie Falls fish ladder when I ran into this this paragraph: “Prior to 1953 two fishways were completed on the Clatskanie River and Scappoose Creek at a cost of $26,000 and $32,000, respectively. A complete concrete fishway costing $23,000 was constructed on GobleContinue reading “Discovering Clatskanie Falls”

Camp Wilkerson’s quiet forests

When I was a boy scout Camp Wilkerson was a decent jamboree and camping site. After scouting I didn’t think about it much until Matt and I began our Columbia County Reptiles and Amphibians project. Now that I’ve been back to visit 30 years later it’s turned into a gorgeous family hiking destination with beautifulContinue reading “Camp Wilkerson’s quiet forests”

The old tunnel through Nehalem Divide

The Nehalem Divide stands west of Scappoose, separating streams that flow to the Columbia River from streams that flow to the Nehalem River. In 1920 a logging company tunneled its railroad straight through this barrier. This massive railway-and-logging operation pulled trees from Vernonia and across the Nehalem Valley out to the Columbia River, moving aContinue reading “The old tunnel through Nehalem Divide”