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”

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”

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”

Squirrels of Northwest Oregon

Folk often ask me what kinds of squirrels live in our area. I figured it was time for a post. In Columbia County we have: 1 chipmunk 1 ground squirrel 2 native tree squirrels (one little and one big) 2 introduced tree squirrels 1 flying squirrel Without further ado, here they are! There are severalContinue reading “Squirrels of Northwest Oregon”

Unsettling Encounter with a Young Elk

I was hesitant to write this post. My hope is that people can learn from my mistakes just as much as from the positive experiences. I set off at 6:30am to avoid the predicted high temps. The early start brought me to a coyote sauntering along the logging road. As I descended a switchback IContinue reading “Unsettling Encounter with a Young Elk”

Are there turtles in your water?

Do you have a pond or slough on your property? Now that warmer days are upon us, you might see some turtles on the logs. Our project at Columbia County Reptiles and Amphibians is recording every lake and river that is home to turtles in Columbia County. If you have a pond, stream, or sloughContinue reading “Are there turtles in your water?”

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”

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”

Family hike at Gnat Creek

I’m going to cheat – Gnat Creek isn’t in Columbia County! But it’s on the edge of the county, just 15 miles west of Clatskanie on Highway 30, and is one of my favorite hikes in the area. It’s also the easiest place that Columbia County residents can access State Forest land. So lets ignoreContinue reading “Family hike at Gnat Creek”