The Miraculous Pacific Yew

The Pacific Yew is my favorite tree. While the Yew’s appearance is understated compared to the towering conifers of our forests, its impact has been felt worldwide. Taxus brevifolia of the Yew family fills a unique niche here as an understory specialist. It is built to survive under the shadows of the douglas-firs, cedars, andContinue reading “The Miraculous Pacific Yew”

Finding a Hidden Unknown Waterfall

Hiking off-trail brings challenges and unexpected rewards. While working on our Columbia County Reptiles and Amphibians research project Jon and I routinely jump off the logging roads in order to access more remote habitat. Last month we were in search of some of our rarer amphibians and identified a steep stream near the Clatskanie River.Continue reading “Finding a Hidden Unknown Waterfall”

Wildlife of the CZ Trail – Scappoose Bottoms

The Crown Zellerbach Trail holds numerous unique habitats along its 26 miles. In particular the lower section beginning at Chapman Landing heading towards Scappoose has many wildlife viewing opportunities that change throughout the seasons. A series of fields, assorted trees, sloughs and ponds attract many a bird, mammal, reptile and amphibian. Today I wanted toContinue reading “Wildlife of the CZ Trail – Scappoose Bottoms”

The Hidden Carcus Creek Falls

Oregon is a state laden with beautiful waterfalls and Columbia County is no exception. While some of our county waterfalls are Instagram-famous roadside attractions like Bonnie and Beaver Creek, others take quite a trek and are known online as little more than approximate GPS points. Jon and I have decided to search out and documentContinue reading “The Hidden Carcus Creek Falls”

The Elusive Columbia Torrent Salamander

The only salamander that shares Columbia County’s namesake, the Columbia Torrent salamander, had never been officially recorded in the county and that just didn’t seem right. These “Torrents” were one of the first salamanders I ever searched for as their habitat niche is in the spray zones of the waterfalls I love. Years ago theContinue reading “The Elusive Columbia Torrent Salamander”

Cool Geology along Crown Zellerbach Trail

Layers of basalt from ancient lava flows helped form the hills of Columbia County. The basalt takes unique shape depending on how the lava cooled. With the Crown Zellerbach Trail being an old logging road, there are a few areas where the road cuts through the adjoining hillsides and exposes the geological past. I (Matt)Continue reading “Cool Geology along Crown Zellerbach Trail”

Nehalem Divide on the CZ Trail

This is an entry by Matt D’Agrosa, a Scappoose native who will contribute regularly to the blog. My favorite section of the Crown Zellerbach Trail is also its highest point; the remote Nehalem Divide trailhead. The trailhead lies alongside Scappoose-Vernonia Highway at the turn for Mt. Pisgah Home logging road.  Heading down from the parkingContinue reading “Nehalem Divide on the CZ Trail”