Cape Perpetua Visitor Center
As a remote worker, field days are always exciting. I had the opportunity to go on this trip with other grants and agreements staff members from both the regional and supervisor’s office to visit the Siuslaw National Forest. During this trip, I met program managers, partners, and volunteers doing great work at Cape Perpetua, Big Creek meadows, Oregon Dunes, and Marys Peak. This trip was such an amazing experience, and it was nice to meet co-workers in person.
On the first day, we went to Cape Perpetua, and met with staff and partners. We learned about ongoing projects, partners and their interpretive program. The Visitor Center is full of informative guides, and models. One of my favorite models was the tidepool replica that was created by staff and volunteers. It’s informative and represents life along the coast. Afterwards, the team got to participate in a bird-watch hike, where we saw hummingbirds, ravens and bald eagles. The hike led us through the scenic area leading to the famous Spouting Horn and Thors Well.
Cape Perpetua Overlook Day Use Area
The next stop was Cape Perpetua to the Overlook Day Use Area. The overlook is 800 feet over the Marine Garden shoreline and is the highest viewpoint on the Oregon Coast. The overlook is an international destination and has been designated as a Globally Important Bird Area. Every year threatened or endangered birds from all over the world come to the waters off Cape Perpetua for food and shelter. Many birds come as far as Antarctica, the Artic, Japan, and New Zealand, such as the Black-footed Alabastros, and the Ancient Murrelet. I didn’t see any of the birds, but I did see whales for the first time.
Big Creek meadows
The next stop was at the meadows near Big Creek to see the Oregon silverspot butterfly project. The Oregon silverspot butterfly is a small, coastal subspecies, and has only been found at 5 locations along the Pacific coastline. I was lucky to see a silverspot butterfly up close. One of the reasons the butterfly is threatened is due to the loss of their habitat, so the goal of the project is to increase the habitat availability and improve population size.
Oregon Sand Dunes
The Oregon dunes was such an amazing place. It is so amazing how the sand dunes were formed and one of the things we learned was that they are disappearing. One of the main disturbances are nonnative plants such as European beachgrass, Scotch broom, and gorse. These plants are quickly spreading and altering the landscape. What once was miles of open sand are now thick shrubs and trees. Every year, 5 miles of sand are disappearing, and if left untreated, the sand dunes will eventually become a mature forest. This will cause many native wildlife dependent on such a unique ecosystem at risk, with some already listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, such as the Western Snowy Plover.
Oregon’s Island in the Sky
Marys Peak is the highest point in Oregon’s Coast Range with an elevation of 4,097 feet. We met with volunteers from Marys Peak Alliance and learned about what the work that they do. We also went on a hike with them to the top of Marys Peak. At the top, you can see the Pacific Ocean, and on the other side the Cascade Volcanoes: Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams, Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, Three Sisters, Mount Mazama, and Mount McLoughlin. Marys Peak also has remnants from the last ice-age like the sub-alpine meadows. It is also a scared place, and its watershed boundaries the homeland of the Kalapuya, Yaqo’n (Yaquine), and Wusi’n (Alsea) people, members of the Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde and Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians.
This trip was such an amazing experience. I would like to thank all the partners, program managers, volunteers, and Grants and Agreements staff members for all their hard work. I learned so much, and I’m looking forward in getting to see all the other projects that are going on throughout Region 6, and Region 10.