This holiday season, give your loved ones a year of unlimited access to Oregon’s state parks with an annual day-use parking permit. From Dec. 1-31, holiday shoppers can buy the annual parking permit for only $25–that’s $5 off the regular price of $30. The permits are transferable from vehicle to vehicle.
Shoppers can round out their gift with holiday gear branded with the iconic Oregon State Parks shield, including hats, water bottles, dog bowls, ornaments and stickers. The holiday gear will be on sale during the month of December. Gift gear and parking permits are for sale online at https://store.oregonstateparks.org/. Gift items can also be purchased in person at Oregon State Parks headquarters in Salem, 725 Summer St. NE Suite C. Parking permits are also sold at major OPRD offices, some state park friends’ group stores and selected local businesses throughout the state. List of vendors.
Alternately, if you would like to give back to the parks you love, consider becoming a member of — or giving the gift of a membership to — the nonprofit Oregon State Parks Foundation. The Foundation is dedicated to raising funds to enhance the state park experience. Those who give a tax-deductible donation of $45 or more will receive a 12-month day-use parking pass as a thank you. Learn more at www.oregonstateparksfoundation.org.
Visitors at Lake Billy Chinook may notice that the lake level has gone down since this fall. Boaters will easily see the waterline is a couple of feet lower than it was. Portland General Electric (PGE) manages lake levels on Lake Billy Chinook to accommodate spring runoff and control flooding downstream. Some years it is necessary to lower it further like in the spring of 2017 to catch above average snow melt.
PGE currently plans is to draw the water line down 3 feet by Christmas and keep it there until March and April. The lake level is measured in actual elevation, so full pool is 1,945’ above sea level and hold lake level to approximately 1,942’ after the holidays.
For current water temperature and flow data from U.S. Geological Survey monitoring stations water temperature/water levels
Boating is allowed all year at Lake Billy Chinook however safety is our priority. Snow, high winds, icy conditions and low water can make launching difficult or unsafe. This may require some boat docks to be temporarily closed. Boaters, stay safe, do not try to launch from a closed dock. For current park conditions, call the park office 541-546-3412, Monday – Friday from 7:30 – 4 pm.
The Crooked River Campground will be closed between
December 15, 2017 – February 15, 2018.
News Release from Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept.
Posted on FlashAlert: November 8th, 2017 4:18 PM
Oregon State Parks invites you to play for free on Nov. 24th in celebration of ‘Green Friday.’
The agency will waive day-use parking fees in 26 Oregon State Parks the day after Thanksgiving.
“We started this tradition three years ago to encourage people to opt outside,” said OPRD director Lisa Sumption. “Why not get some fresh air with your family and create a new holiday tradition?”
Parking is free year-round at almost all state parks; the waiver applies to the 26 parks that charge $5 daily for parking, including The Cove Palisades State Park. The waiver applies from open to close on Nov. 25, except at Shore Acres State Park, where it expires at 3 p.m. for the Holiday Lights event that runs Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve. A list of parks that require day-use parking permits is at OSPParking.
Fall at The Cove
Is there anything to do at The Cove once the summer season is over? Most definitely! In fact, fall can be one of the most magical times here at the park. The cooler weather makes for a great time to hike the Tam-a-lau Trail. You can access the trail from the Upper Deschutes Day Use Area and embark on a seven mile journey. The initial climb, an elevation gain of 600 feet in the first mile, is worth it when you reach the top and see the spectacular views of the park this trail affords. Who knows? You might even find a pictograph along the way, but you are certain to see some huge rocks, and a sweeping view of Lake Billy Chinook that can’t be beat.
Prefer just to sit back, relax, and enjoy the beauty of the area? Reserve a site at the Crooked River Campground, grab some extra blankets and wood, and enjoy the colors of fall as you watch the sun set over Mount Jefferson. If you’re up for a short walk, you can take the Crooked River Wetlands Nature Trail, accessed from the boat and trailer parking area, which provides views of the first two ponds in our wetlands. As you walk this easy quarter mile loop, you can see the bluebird houses and bat boxes built by Culver students. You never know what kind of wildlife you might encounter along the way. For a slightly more adventurous hike, take the Rim Trail, and hike up to overlook 1. This mile long trail is a moderate hike but at the top is a beautiful view of the Crooked River Canyon and the snow covered Cascades. (Use caution if there are snowy or icy conditions as trails can be slippery.)
As fall arrives, so does the wildlife. This is a great time of year to see some of The Cove’s residents who prefer a bit less human interaction. The Tam-a-lau and the Wetlands Trail are both good places to see wildlife. In fact, just about any trail you wander along could afford you that opportunity. Maybe take a stroll along the water and see if the river otters are out playing. Or just find a nice, quiet, pretty spot to sit and relax and see what wanders along.
Don’t think that just because summer is over there’s nothing to do or see here at The Cove. Come on out and take a look. You just might surprise yourself.
Silken caterpillar nests that look like cobwebs are hanging in the cottonwood trees, and literally thousands of caterpillars are all over the pavilion area, in the Upper Deschutes Day-use Area. Fall webworm caterpillars work together to make the gauzy looking nests. These caterpillars are the larvae of a native species of tiger moth known to entomologists as (Hyphantria cunea). They are considered to be a pest by many people, but are primarily a cosmetic nuisance, according to Oregon State University. Fall Webworm is a native insect; their population ebbs and flows over time. Some years have heavier infestations and this appears to be one of those years. The caterpillars feed on more than 85 species of deciduous trees and shrubs in the United States and are commonly seen in black walnut trees, willows, fruit trees and cottonwoods in Oregon. It is one of the few insect pests introduced from North America into other continents.
Like many insects, the Fall Webworm has several different appearances during it’s lifecycle. Webworm caterpillars, related to wooly bear caterpillars, are black with yellow to golden-orange bumps under a cloak of long tufted white hairs. They grow to about 1.5 inches long.
Then overwinter as pupae in a brown cocoon in protected places, such as in bark crevices or on the ground in litter or duff. This species acts similarly to the eastern tent caterpillar, but the Fall Webworm constructs its nest over the end of the branch rather than at tree crotches.
The adult, a large silky white tiger moth with black spots on its underside, flies in mid-summer. After mating, the female moth will lay hundreds of yellow or white eggs on the undersides of leaves. Like most moths, the Fall Webworm moths are nocturnal and are attracted to light. Adult moths have a wingspan of between 1.4–1.7 inches. Adults emerge in spring after host plants have developed leaves and mate. female moths deposit eggs in masses Adults emerge in spring after host plants have developed leaves and mate. Female moths deposit eggs in masses under leaves that appear covered with hair.
So, if you visit the park, look into the cottonwood trees and you will see these nests as well as little fuzzy caterpillars.
Due to EXTREME fire danger and limited emergency resources, all open flames are banned at The Cove Palisades State Park before, during and after the Total Eclipse.
ONLY PROPANE STOVES OR GRILLS (with lid) will be allowed; no wood or charcoal fires, propane fire rings, tiki torches, regular or Citronella candles or other flammable fuels will be allowed. Sky lanterns are illegal in the State of Oregon. No smoking is allowed in the park except in your campsite or vehicle.
If you plan on camping for the Total Eclipse weekend, please come prepared with alternative cooking methods. Ice may also be in very short supply and temperatures are expected to be hot. Plan for your family and don’t forget your furry friends.
Please do your part to keep The Cove Palisades State Park safe and beautiful!
►►All Oregon State Park campgrounds are full.
This is not the weekend to wing it!
►►Expect unprecedented traffic before, during and after
the eclipse. Avoid travel on Aug. 21.
►►The usual conveniences may be hard to get to.
Fill your tank and stock up early on food, medicine,
cash and anything else you can’t live without.
►►Cell phone service may become iffy.
►►Expect campfire bans in central and eastern Oregon.
►►Expect very high tides at the coast overnight:
camping on the beach is risky. Overnight parking
on the beach is prohibited
►►Protect your eyes during the partial eclipse:
use approved eclipse glasses or filters.
Stay informed: Follow #OReclipse2017
For more information at The Cove Palisades State Park, see our eclipse page on The Cove Rattler!
Gear up with special eclipse merchandise at Oregon State Parks
In between the snow storms of 2016/2017, Portland General Electric (PGE) and the Oregon Youth Challenge Corp. put in a new trail that park officials have been planning for several years. This season, there are two new trails at The Cove. Both are located on the Crooked River side of the park; enjoy breathtaking scenic beauty or spot wildlife as it flies or scurries by. Just a short walk from the Crooked River Campground or visitors may park in the boat trailer lot, behind the campground check-in booth (please remember the $5 day-use permit is required if you are not camping at the park).
Wetlands Trail – Visitors can take a leisurely, flat, quarter mile loop trail around the man-made ponds that clean up runoff before spilling into Lake Billy Chinook.
All new signage will explain the fire restoration progress that’s occurring after our 2015 wildfire in the park, you’ll see a bat apartment building that was built by Culver High School and Elementary School in 2015 that houses up to 1,200 bats, and you’ll also see a work in progress as Culver Middle School plants a certified showy milkweed garden, called the Milky Way, to attract migrating Monarch Butterflies.
This area is rich in vegetation; as well as aquatic, aerial and terrestrial wildlife. Look for Turkey Vultures, Hawks, Red-winged Blackbirds, Mule Deer, Rabbit, Dragonflies, Western Fence Lizards and more!
The Overlook Trail – For those looking for a little more of workout, start on the trail just to the left of the paddle wheel, on the north side of the Crooked River Campground Check-in booth. You will climb up a mile long, rocky trail, to Overlook #1 off Mountain View Road. Those willing to make the trek will be rewarded with breath taking views of Lake Billy Chinook – the Deschutes and Crooked Rivers, The Island – a National Landmark, Round Butte, The Sisters mountain range, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Hood and the surrounding areas. In the spring you will see tons of wildflowers as red-tailed hawks and turkey vultures soar overhead.
(Safety Notes: Bring water and wear sturdy shoes; may not be suitable for visitors with mobility or breathing issues.)
Check park programs for scheduled Junior Ranger program hikes, geologic tours, full moon night hikes and more!
As part of The Cove Palisades and Culver Middle School’s ongoing partnership; students focused on learning about Raptors and helped extensively with OPRD’s Eagle Watch festival for the 2016-2017 school year. They built a life size bald eagle nest that was almost six feet in diameter; large enough for an entire human family to sit in. Students created original Eagle Mad Libs and poetry for visitors.
It was my honor to be invited to Culver Middle School’s STEMFEST this year. Students show off the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) skills that they learned to school district administration, invited guests, media, and local elementary and high school students. One of the main goals of STEAM is to be as student directed as possible. The teachers may be used as resources however students need to come up with processes and conclusions or solutions on their own. To that end, each student was tasked with becoming an expert on some Raptor related species or topic. The projects were impressive and informative but moreover what was so exciting was how students put themselves out there and taught visitors about their bird of prey – using many of the interactive tactics we teach our OPRD staff at interpretive training.
I will be using several student activities at Junior Ranger programs in the park this summer (photos: making owls out of homemade play dough and guessing which eggs go to which birds). As this is my fourth year it was also fun to see returning high school students that participated in STEM at The Cove still supporting and participating the current middle school students.