4th of July flyer 2014

4th of July 2014 madras parade 014

J. R. Beaver will be in the Madras 4th of July Celebration at Sahalee Park – 241 SE 7th St
Madras, OR

Elks breakfast 7 – 10 am.  Parade begins at 10 am.  Entertainment, Music, Food, and Fun for the whole family 11:30 – 2 pm.

Lake Billy Chinook Safe for July 4th Weekend

News Release // Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept. // FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE // July 1, 2015
Media Contact:  Dave Slaght, Park Manager, 541-546-2862 ext. 225

State park and marina at Lake Billy Chinook get all-clear for holiday weekend

Culver OR – The Oregon Health Authority has lifted their June 25 water quality advisory for Lake Billy Chinook (http://tinyurl.com/billychinookwater).

The Cove Palisades State Park has some campsites remaining for Thursday stays, but the holiday weekend is booked. The park receives more than 77,000 campers and 400,000 day visitors a year.
“Bring your kids and your boats, and come enjoy the lake,” says Park Manager Dave Slaght. “It’s going to be a beautiful weekend. Enjoy it safely.”
Personal watercraft, ski boats, pontoon boats, party barges, kayaks and paddle boards are all available for reservation and rental through summer, even for the holiday weekend and other prime dates, from the full-service marina (http://covepalisadesresort.com/). The marina also has houseboats sleeping 6-14 people ready to rent. Call 541-546-9999 ext. 2 for more information.

A view of the Island, a NPS Natural National Landmark.  Isn't she a beaut!

Boating on Lake Billy Chinook

Father’s Day Weekend at The Cove

Saturday, June 20th

Bring your dad to Camp Coyote…

Who can build a better rocket?


6:30 pm Build a Rocket

These paper rockets are easy and fun for kids and dads (moms can play too!)  We will build our rockets and then with compressed air watch them soar through the amphitheater.

9:00 pm Leave It To Beavers

Want to get your dad something he can’t get anywhere else?  J.R. Beaver will be here and he’s planning on making our very special dads Honorary Beavers.  Then, learn what it really takes to be a beaver.  See if you or your dad can gnaw your way to victory!  Refreshments will be served.


beaver eating contest

Come Out & Play

Lake Billy Chinook is full of water, sunny and ready for you!  Round up family and friends — it’s time to drag the boat and RV out of storage, clean it, stock it and come have fun.

Lake Billy Chinook May 28, 2015

Lake Billy Chinook May 28, 2015

Here are 5 Tips to ensure you have a blast!

1) June is a great month to visit and less busy than it will be in the summer.

2) Come mid-week to get the best choice of rentals, campsites and your place on the beach.

3) Call ahead to make a camping reservation.  Just call the helpful folks at Reservations Northwest at 1-800-425-5687 or go online to http://www.oregonstateparks.org

4)  If you don’t have a boat, that’s OK, The Cove Palisades Marina & Resort has all kinds of boats that you can rent.  Call 1 – 877-546-7171 or go online to http://covepalisadesresort.com to check out what they have.

5) Stay hydrated – it gets really hot out here in the summer and it’s important to drink plenty of water.  (See the Know Before You Go tab for more great tips.)

2015 State Parks Day Flyer

It’s also ODFW’s Free Fishing Weekend both Saturday and Sunday – No state fishing license or tribal permit required for all ages!

Events at The Cove Palisades State Park on June 6th:

8:00 – 9:30 am — Let’s Go Fishing, Crooked River Day-Use Boat Launch Area

Join Park Staff, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and avid volunteer fisherman Quentin Stanko for a fun morning of fishing.  All experience levels are welcome and all equipment will be provided.

10 – 2 pm — Free Learn to Ski Day, Near the Crooked River Bridge

The Sunsports Waterski Club out of Madras wants to teach you how to waterski or how to take your skills to the next level. They will provide the boats, all the gear and expert guidance – just bring your suit, sunscreen and be ready for fun.  All experience levels welcome.  Go online to sign up http://www.sundancewatersports.com

4 pm – Junior Ranger Program in the Lower Deschutes Day-use Area

Children 6 – 12 who would like to be an official Junior Ranger can come and sign up.  Kids will learn all about pine cones – what trees have them, why some don’t, what some need to open and more!

8:30 pm –  The Cove Rocks! Campfire Program in Camp Coyote Amphitheater, Deschutes Campground

Join Interpretive Host Steve to learn all about the rocks at The Cove and how they got here.

Spring is in bloom at The Cove

Painted Lady Butterfly on flowering Balsam Root

Painted Lady Butterfly on flowering Balsam Root

Spring at The Cove, as everything is coming to life, is one of the most beautiful times of year.  Much like an Easter egg hunt, spring does not scream like a neon sign but special joys can be sought out and treasured, all the more remarkable for their rarity.

Apple Blossom Crooked River Wetlands

Apple Blossom Crooked River Wetlands

Historically, areas within the park were farmed; however most of the farming areas and orchards are now under Lake Billy Chinook or were abandoned for lack of irrigation.  Yet another treasure to discover, this apple blossom is from a lone apple tree near the Crooked River Campground.

The waterfalls are flowing, creating micro-ecosystems that give life to an otherwise dry, desert landscape.

The waterfalls are flowing, creating micro-ecosystems that give life to an otherwise dry, desert landscape.

Wildflowers like balsam root, lupine, Indian paintbrush, serviceberry, bitterroot, desert parsley, aster, and campus lily, dot the hillsides in a rainbow of colors.  Unlike a zoo, you can’t instantly find and walk up to a wild animal at The Cove; but if you are quiet and patient, you can enjoy the chorus of bird song, crickets and frogs and look for new park residents as our baby animals start to explore their new world.

It is a spectacular time of year to bring your kayak and glide along the water’s edge pondering the age-old stories etched in stone of violent eruptions and determined rivers – or drop in a line.  Eagles and vultures are soaring above Lake Billy Chinook; as swallows dart to and fro in search of mud and insects.  If you hike the Tam A Lau trail, warmer temperatures are causing our reptiles to wake from hibernation, western fence lizards, stripped plateau whiptail lizards, and bull snakes have been spotted out and about.

Come out and discover your treasure today!Indian Paintbrush (2)

Fire Fuels Reduction Project Update

Fire is a natural part of a healthy ecosystem.  Wildfires are a common occurrence in Central Oregon due to our high summer temperatures, low precipitation and humidity and numerous lightning strikes.

Fire can provide long-term benefits to forest and watershed health;
however, high intensity or large wildfires can result in significant increases in runoff and erosion, which can negatively impact water quality.
Low - moderate intensity wildfires can encourage vegetative succession and promote diverse habitats.

Low – moderate intensity wildfires can encourage vegetative succession and
promote diverse habitats.

Due to the urban interface, fire suppression is common practice. This is important when saving life and property but it does not make for healthy natural areas.  Park officials deal with vegetation management by thinning and burning.

Juniper Thinning Project spring 2014 (3)

Last year, a contractor was hired to thin some of the Juniper trees in the Deschutes Campground and Day-Use areas to lessen the potential effects of wildfire in the park. (Wood from this project was donated to local senior citizens that needed it for winter). You may have seen piles of cut branches in the park over the summer in 2014.

Ranger Supervisor, Chris Gerdes stands watch over a controlled burn near the Deschutes Campground.

Ranger Supervisor, Chris Gerdes stands watch over a controlled burn near the Deschutes Campground.

While some of the piles were left in place for erosion control and wildlife habitat; other areas were carefully burned over the winter and early spring of 2015.

This summer, see what has popped up in our burned areas…

The Island, a National Natural Landmark

The Island is majestically placed between the Deschutes River and Crooked River where they enter Lake Billy Chinook.

The Island is majestically placed between the Deschutes River and Crooked River where they enter Lake Billy Chinook.

The Island is a peninsula with steep vertical cliffs on three sides, that rise 700 feet above the Crooked and Deschutes Rivers.  It measures about 208 acres on top. Due to the steep cliffs that surround it, the Island has never been grazed by livestock, except for one season of grazing by sheep in 1921. It also has not suffered from any sizable wildfires in the last century.  As a result, it contains one of the United States’ last remaining undisturbed communities of two native vegetation types: western juniper – big sagebrush-blue bunch-wheatgrass and western juniper-big sagebrush-bitterbrush.

The Island is significant in several ways.  This geologic feature is part of the Deschutes Formation which began forming about 11 million years ago, as alternating layers of basaltic lava, stream sediment, and volcanic debris flowed into the area from the Cascade Range.  Erosion by the Deschutes and Crooked rivers; as well as wind have continued to form and erode the plateau we see today.  It was a powerful cultural location to local Native American’s.  It also possesses exceptional value as an illustration of the Nation’s Natural Heritage and contributes to a better understanding of the environment.  

In order to preserve the integrity of the site, the Island is designated a Research Natural Area by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in 1986.  In 1997, the BLM closed the Island to the public; permits may be issued to educational institutions and conservation groups seasonally.  Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, designated it as one of nine National Natural Landmarks in Oregon.

In 2011, the Island formation at Lake Billy Chinook was dedicated as a National Natural Landmark.

The Island at Lake Billy Chinook was dedicated as a National Natural Landmark in 2011.

Rangers Steve Bifano, Chris Rodgers, and Jay Walters located the perfect rock in which to set the National Landmark plaque this spring.

If you are driving toward Deschutes Camp, on the left side of the road, near the Petroglyph Rock pull off area, you will see a trail going back towards Group Camp.  Hike about a hundred feet and you will find the plaque.  Park Staff intend to install a bench for visitors in the future.



EW Flyer 2015VIP Tours of the Round Butte Fish Facility and Hatchery – Saturday 12 pm / Sunday 11 am – sign up at the welcome table half an hour before the tour begins. Special Guests:  J.R. Beaver, Larry the Light bulb & Smokey Bear!

Event Sponsors:  Acorn Naturalist, C3 Events, Canyon Creek Pottery – Sisters, Cascade Lavender – Culver, Cornell University of Ornithology, Earth20 – Culver, High Desert Museum – Bend, Indian Head Casino – Warm Springs, John Finch, artist, Ka-Nee-Ta Resort & Spa – Warm Springs, 91.9 FM – KWSO Warm Springs Radio, Madras Aquatic Center, Madras Garden Depot, McKay Cottage – Bend, Museum at Warm Springs, Oregon Parks & Recreation, Oregon Zoo, Portland General Electric, Quartz Creek Drummers and Dancers, Spilyay Tymoo Warm Springs Newspaper, Sunriver Metal Works, Sunriver Nature Center, The Bennett Family, The Patton Family, The Rybel Family, Telecom Pioneers, Wild Birds Unlimited – Bend.

Originally posted on The Cove Rattler :

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Hiking Can Relieve Stress

winter 2014 048It’s time to put pen to paper, or fingers to your smart phone, and make your 2015 New Year’s Resolutions.  Most of us have a lot of similar things on our lists, stay close to friends and family, loose weight, start a new hobby, reduce stress, be healthier, drink more water and start exercising.  What is one thing that you can do and will check everything off your list?  HIKING!  And what better place to do it than in Central Oregon.  Best of all it’s free!

I don’t know many people that say, “I have so little stress, I really need to complicate my life today.”  Most of us have some form of stress and we all need a healthy way to deal with it.  So at least once a week find a trail and you will not only get aerobic exercise – which increases endorphins and stimulates the body – but you will also find a deeper level of relaxation, which reduces stress.   Once out there, you have the freedom to tune your brain into whatever is most important.  Hiking can be coupled with meditation, time to contemplate complex issues that matter to you without distractions, or simply enjoy taking in the sights and sounds of nature.

Like any hobby, hiking can be more fun, and safer, with a buddy.  Hiking with someone else can allow you to vent, talk out or brainstorm when you have a problem.  The other person can also serve as a distraction if you don’t want quite time.

If you need to take your relaxation to the next level and really tune out the world for a while, bring your favorite music with you.  Not only does it serve to calm the nerves, lower stress hormones and blood pressure, but it also helps to establish a rhythm of hiking, which accentuates the effectiveness of the body’s aerobic exercise. Studies have shown that the combination of endorphins released between the two seemingly contrasting activities can deal with stress much more efficiently overall.

Central Oregon State Parks have miles and miles for you to explore.  Here at The Cove, the are many short winding trails that lead from the Deschutes Campground to the Deschutes River.  The Tam A Lau trail is a seven mile loop that will get your lungs and legs pumping with an 800 foot elevation gain and amazing Cascade views.  Also check out Smith Rock State Park, Tumalo State Park or Pilot Butte, Prineville Reservoir State Park (there is a three mile trail between Prineville Reservoir and Jasper Point State Park), and La Pine State Park.

Mt Jefferson Sunset
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”  – John Muir,

While hiking is an excellent way to relieve stress, it is important to always be prepared on a hike. If you haven’t exercised in a while, it might be a good thing to see your doctor first.  Check the weather forecast and a map of the area you are visiting, dress in layers, let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.  Bring a first aid kit, extra water and a mobile phone that gets reception in the area.

Have a happy and healthy 2015!

The Cove Rattler


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