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”

New Trtek trailhead now has two trails

Last year a new trailhead was completed on the Crown Z, right in the middle of Scappoose. The “Trtek Trailhead” (what we used to call the Scappoose Trailhead) will be the easiest spot for most people to access the Scappoose Bottoms portion of the CZ Trail. It’s a fine parking lot and includes restrooms, picnicContinue reading “New Trtek trailhead now has two trails”

Updates at Dalton Lake

Since the bike trail at Dalton Lake became “Dalton Lake Nature Preserve“, we’ve enjoyed watching the place change. There are now info kiosks and bike stands on both ends as well as new benches. Friends of Dalton Lake has worked to widen trails and remove some invasive vegetation, and Patrick Birkle leads nature tours. SophiaContinue reading “Updates at Dalton Lake”

Death on the trail – waterfall safety

I’m going to introduce our new waterfalls page in a roundabout way. Safety comes first. Falls from heights are our greatest natural danger, killing more hikers than heat, cold, lightning, or wild animals. Unfortunately, beautiful waterfalls bring the greatest risk of serious injury or death. In 2009 I was surveying a small waterfall on theContinue reading “Death on the trail – waterfall safety”

Rosey, Lucas, Matt, and Jon year in review

To add some fun to this freezing New Year, I asked our main blog participants to give their 2021 highlights. What was your favorite trail, favorite reptile, favorite moment? Here are their replies and photos – share your own answers in the comments! Hike of the Year Rosey: In June I did an 11-mile hikeContinue reading “Rosey, Lucas, Matt, and Jon year in review”

Birding at Santosh Wildlife Area and Honeyman Road

The longer we work on this website and wildlife survey, the more hidden locations we turn up. One new discovery is “Santosh Wildlife Area” at the north end of the CalPortland property in Scappoose. Marlea Berumen told us about the place, otherwise we never would have known it existed. We started at the CalPortland officeContinue reading “Birding at Santosh Wildlife Area and Honeyman Road”