Cove Kayak Tours

kayak training 035.JPGCelebrate spring, join Park Interpretive Staff on beautiful Lake Billy Chinook for an easy 1 1/2 hour guided tour along the Deschutes River. Enjoy a brand new fleet of sit on top kayaks.  You will see breath taking geology, hear tales of local history, enjoy wildflowers and look for wildlife – you may even spot a bald eagle soaring overhead!

Tour Schedule: 

  • Saturdays, April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 – Upper Deschutes Day-use Boat launch
  • Thursdays and Saturdays, May 5, 7, 12, 14 – Upper Deschutes Day-use Boat launch
  • Thursdays and Saturdays, May 19, 21, 26, 28 – Lower Deschutes Day-use Boat launch

All Tours are scheduled from 9:30 am – 11:30 am

Ages:  Paddlers must be at least 8 years old; anyone under 18, must be accompanied by an adult.

Cost: $15 per person, single and tandem kayaks available. All gear is provided – LIFE JACKETS ARE REQUIRED TO BE WORN AT ALL TIMES, BY ALL AGES.   To register, call 541-546-3412, Monday – Friday from 8:00 am – 3:00 pm. Walk-ins the day of may be available if space allows.

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Paddle along the cliffs of the Deschutes and see cliff swallows and turkey vultures.

What to bring:  Paddlers should be prepared for unexpected Central Oregon weather.  We suggest that paddlers dress in layers and wear shoes that can get wet. We do not anticipate that you will leave the boat but you may get wet.  The water in Lake Billy Chinook can be very cold so it is strongly suggested that you bring a towel and a change of clothing just in case.  Bring water, sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and cameras are optional. 

Cancellation Notice:  In the event of inclement weather or other unforeseen emergency trips will be cancelled by 7 am the morning of the tour.  Notices will be posted at the campground booths, the boat launch and efforts made to contact registered participants.

Culver Middle School helps restore State Park

After fire raged last summer, park rangers welcome school’s interest

See the Bend Bulletin’s Article:  By Kailey Fisicaro / The Bulletin / @kaileyfisicaro Published Mar 9, 2016 at 12:01AM  Culver Middle School Cove Restoration

Culver Middle School S.T.E.M. students were charged with assisting park staff with fire restoration efforts in the Crooked River Wetlands after last summer’s wildfire.   Last fall Culver Middle School adopted The Cove.  Just before Christmas, students collected more than 200 Coyote Willow whips from the park and they’ve been carefully cultivating the plants.

Culver Middle School – Willow Planting Day

Mrs. Little and Mr.Habliston’s 6th and 7th grade classes came out to the park and had a fantastic day planting the willows students cut in December, cutting/preparing more willow for the project and learning about habitat management.  Students learned that removing some plants can be just as important as planting others.


Mrs. Little showing students how to pound in the rebar to make holes for the new trees.

In the current restoration plan, 30% of vegetation will be added to the ponds; later in the month, students will return and plant more coyote willow and red twig dogwood.    They will be netting each whip to prevent mule deer from eating the new trees and shrubs.

Stay tuned for more project photos…



Rockets on the Moon

The Cove’s Interpretive Ranger Erin Bennett has been looking for a way to reach younger visitors that are not old enough to participate in the Junior Ranger Program this summer. “With more young families camping in the park there is an unmet need to include more of our visitors in our programs,” say’s Erin. Erin is The Cove’s liaison for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) projects with local schools – and as it turns out, STEM is not just for older kids, it starts in Pre-K. Ranger Jennifer Godfrey at Detroit Lake suggested Erin try out the My Sky Tonight Program, which is a free program that guides educators on how to teach astronomy to children (ages 3-5) and provides the materials to get started.

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Erin recently went to the Children’s Learning Center in Madras and Culver Elementary School to try out some of the programs. As a 3 part series, children learned about the moon, its many phases, and how craters are formed; they became rocket engineers by building their own air rockets to get to the moon, and used their imaginations to become astronauts where they explored a moon landscape by making mini rovers and collecting rock samples. “Working with the kids is so rewarding; they are full of energy and curiosity and ask amazingly tough questions,” Erin said.

If you are visiting The Cove this summer, check the blog, park flyers or with park staff for new opportunities for our younger visitors.

20 Years of Watching the Eagles Soar

Eagle Watch – a “Culver Tradition” since 1996 – was a huge success this year, reports Event Coordinator Erin Bennett. The Saturday/Sunday event at Round Butte Overlook Park was attended by 800 people who enjoyed the displays, programs, and activities provided by the eleven different agencies and organizations represented there. The donation of more than 309 volunteer hours by a total of 26 volunteers made the event a great success.
Aquila, the golden eagle from the Sunriver Nature Center, as usual stole the show – even though J.R. Beaver, Smokey Bear and Larry the Lightbulb all came out for photo ops with the kids. This is not surprising after all, how often do you get to stand two feet away from an amazing apex predator?!  Visitors made commemorative buttons with the new Eagle Watch logo,  175 bluebird houses and 100 bird feeders. Children made flying eagles, plume pens, soared through Eagle Village on a scavenger hunt, and played raptor bingo. The event ended with the Quartz Creek Drummers and Dancers as they performed their cultural dances for visitors.

Special Thank You to all of our volunteers for sharing their time and talents to help make this a great weekend.  Eagle Watch would not be possible without your help!