Category Archives: Lake Billy Chinook
Folklore from countries around the world surround the harsh, cold, dark, mysterious time of year known as winter.
Boreas – God of the North Wind – In Greek mythology, each direction of wind was considered a god. Depicted in ancient art as an old man, he was considered the bringer of winter and the cold. The harshness of the season was paralleled by his supposedly harsh personality, short-tempered and severe.-
Every now and then, nature transforms The Cove into a spectacle of shimmering ice and frost which coats literally everything in a mantle of glistening ice crystals, this is known as Ammil. This phenomenon occurs when a winter thaw is suddenly arrested by a rapid drop in temperature which results in the moisture being frozen. Sometimes larger objects can get a build up of several layers of ice which because of its weight can cause havoc with old trees and dead branches.
Ammil – The glittering layer of ice that dusts everything after a freeze.
While this picture perfect fairyland is beautiful, it can be dangerous. Be careful not to slip on ice, don’t stand under trees or things that can break and fall on you. Driving can be especially tricky. If you can, avoid Jack Frost, enjoy these days from the warmth of your fireplace; if not, bundle up and go slow!
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.
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
It has been snowing for two days at The Cove with single digit temperatures and as rangers have been plowing and shoveling, wearing several layers of clothing, we are still freezing. As I look around the only living things out here that are up and moving around are birds. There are a lot of different birds at The Cove and only some migrate to warmer climates in the winter. Yesterday I saw Canada Geese, various ducks, Red Tailed Hawks, a Bald Eagle, a crow and numerous American Robins out hunting for food. Have you ever wondered how they cope in the winter? You’ll be amazed at the amazing adaptations birds have to stay warm and survive the frigid temperatures.
When the temperature drops I crave warm, hearty, calorie laden foods. These foods mean packing on the calories, which I’ll have to deal with in the spring, but birds need to increase their caloric intake too. Birds put on fat as both an insulator and energy source: More than 10 percent of winter body weight may be fat in certain species. It’s important to remember this can only be done in small amounts since they are a flying animal and still need to be able to take off. As a result, some birds spend the vast majority of their day time hours seeking fatty food sources. They are adapted to find, store, and remember where the food is so they can find it quickly. This makes winter foraging super efficient.
Birds have to work smarter not harder in the winter. One of the most effective strategies for having enough energy from food to stay warm is to not do highly energetic things during the cold season such as defend territories, spend a lot of time singing (although the Geese are constantly honking!), don’t build or maintain nests, don’t produce eggs or have hungry chicks around.
Birds of prey highly detailed knowledge of its home range and patience can mean the difference between life and death. During a short break in severe weather, a Barn Owl can fly directly to the best foraging habitat in any given ground, light and wind conditions. They are more likely to hunt from a fence post than from the air; this saves energy that would be used in flight and reduces heat loss.
Since birds can’t fly over to their closest Patagonia store or order a jacket from L.L. Bean, they have to find other ways to keep warm. Here is a list of some of their other adaptations:
- During the day time they soak in the sun.
- “Feathers are incredibly specialized structures that serve many purposes including, for many species, keeping them warm,” says Peter Marra, head of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center at the National Zoo. Larger birds like geese will grow extra feathers. All their feathers help keep them warm, but especially the downy under feathers and act like tiny little North Face down coats. Bird feathers are also covered in oil which makes them waterproof.
- Smaller birds seek out dense foliage or cavities in rocks to avoid the elements and lessen wind-chill.
- Bird feet are covered with scales and have very little cold-damageable tissue in them. They are mostly bone and sinew. This minimizes the likelihood of frostbite. Bird feet are generally grabbing at rest, so it takes very little energy to stay attached to a branch.
- Ducks in Upper Deschutes huddle, bunching together to share warmth, and try to minimize their total surface area by tucking in their head and feet and sticking up their feathers. Some species like certain hawks will forgo a solitary lifestyle and form communal winter roosts.
- Some birds, like Chickadees shiver. Birds shiver by activating opposing muscle groups, creating muscle contractions without all of the jiggling typical when humans shiver. This form of shaking is better at retaining the bird’s heat.
- Many species have the ability to keep warm blood circulating near vital organs while allowing extremities to cool down; some can stand on ice with feet at near-freezing temperatures while keeping their body’s core nice and warm.
What can we do to help birds in the winter?
According to the Audubon Society’s Winter Feeding Tips for Birds: One simple way to help birds when the weather outside is frightful is to hang feeders. To attract a diversity of birds, select different feeder designs and a variety of foods. For ideas on what to get for your home, go to: Audubon Guide to Winter Bird-Feeding for tips. The birds benefit from the backyard buffet, and you’ll have a front-row seat to numerous species flocking to your plants and feeders. USE CAUTION, birds come to rely on this as an easy and unlimited food source. If you aren’t going to take the time and spend the money to keep feeders full, it’s best not to start.
Protect winter nesting sites. Just like humans need a warm place to go, bald eagles need shelter to survive harsh winter weather too. Winter can cause even large birds of prey a great deal of stress. The critical point to remember is that bald eagles are very territorial birds, and most breeding pairs return to the same nest site year after year. They may use the same nest annually for up to 35 years. If their nests are disturbed or destroyed, the pair may never build again. The less human caused disturbance the more likely we will have healthy breeding pairs in the spring.
Another thing we can do is not chase birds that are huddled together in large groups. We all know they will get up and fly away if we run at them. Their ability to survive a potential threat costs them a great deal of life sustaining calories.
Friday and Saturday, November 25 and 26, 2016
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife:
Start a new Thanksgiving tradition: Take family and friends fishing for free on Friday and Saturday, November 25 and 26. It’s a free fishing weekend in Oregon and no licenses, tags or endorsements will be required to fish, crab or clam anywhere in the state.
Trout Update: Lake Billy Chinook to Benham Falls: rainbow trout, brown trout. Open for trout all year. Fishing restricted to artificial flies and lures. No size or limits on brown trout and no harvest of bull trout.