Astronomy Lovers, this is your year!

There is so much to get excited about in the night sky, here is a partial list of the highlights to come:

2019 is featuring five eclipses, a rare planet transit, one of the best meteor showers and a super blood wolf moon. The new year will also bring three supermoons, a blue moon, multiple meteor showers, close approach by the moon and Jupiter and several rocket launches. For more information, check out KTVU’s recent post. (

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The first major event you don’t want to miss is the super, blood, wolf moon on January 20th photo credit: NRIS

A “blood moon” is essentially a poetic name for what’s called a “total lunar eclipse” that occurs during a supermoon. On an ordinary day, the moon gets its shine from direct sunlight reflecting on its surface, but during a lunar eclipse, the moon moves through the Earth’s umbra (the darkest and most central area of Earth’s shadow).  During this time, the Earth, moon, and sun are almost perfectly aligned. You’d think this would make the moon go completely dark, but instead, the moon gets illuminated by indirect sunlight. The first full moon in January is typically known as a “wolf moon”; however other cultures may have different names for each month’s full moon. North and South America should have a great view if clouds don’t get in your way. NASA projects the total eclipse duration at about 1 hour and 2 minutes. The peak, in Oregon, is expected at approximately 9:12 pm PST (or 12:15 am EST), according to  No special equipment will be necessary to view the eclipse, just find a dark, clear, uncluttered bit of night sky, then sit back and enjoy the show. For those of you who go to bed early, you’ll have to wait until 2021 to see the next one.

The Cove Palisades State Park will have summer programs highlighting some of the years special astronomical peaks beginning in May – Check out the Programs Tab to join us! Prineville Reservoir State Park, just an hour east of The Cove, boasts the darkest night sky in Central Oregon. This is the 20th annual, Star Party which will be all day fun for the whole family. Check for more information, coming soon. Also, visit the Oregon Observatory at for telescope stargazing that is out of this world!

A BIG thank you to our visitors this year!

“JR Beaver” and park staff had the privilege to provide:

  • 18 kayak tours
  • 64 junior ranger programs
  • 25 school field trips
  • 147 park programs
  • 9 special events

To more than 10,000 visitors at The Cove and Jefferson County in 2018.

We can’t do all of this alone. We would like to thank our awesome partners and guest speakers: Portland General Electric, Crook County Search & Rescue, BLM, National Crooked River Grassland, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Lake Chinook Fire & Rescue, Carrie Gordon (USFS-ret), Robert Smith and Paul Patton (OPRD), Sunriver Nature Center, Museum at Warm Springs, and Culver Middle School.

Here are just a few highlights from this year….

We wish you a happy holiday season and a bright 2019!

— The Cove Palisades State Park Team

Bull Trout are Biting

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Regulations require fisherman to return Bull trout in most locations unharmed so identification is important. 

Although the species was once abundant and widespread, bull trout now exist primarily in upper tributary streams and several lake and reservoir systems. The main populations remaining in the lower 48 states are in Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington with a small population in northern Nevada. Bull trout have been extirpated from California. Bull trout may live near areas where they were spawned or migrate from small streams to larger streams and rivers or from streams to lakes, reservoirs or salt water. Migration is critical to healthy populations.  Bull trout numbers are declining because they are more sensitive to increased water temperatures, poor water quality and degraded stream habitat than many other salmonids. Further threats to bull trout include hybridization and competition with non-native brook trout, brown trout and lake trout, over fishing, poaching, and man-made structures that block migration. Bull Trout are listed as a threatened species in the State of Oregon.

Bull trout are members of the salmon family known as char. Char are distributed farther north than any other group of freshwater fish except Alaskan Blackfish and are well adapted for life in very cold water. Bull trout, Dolly Varden and lake trout are species of char native to the northwest. They can grow to more than 20 pounds in lake environments.

Since Bull trout need cold, clean water to survive, they are typically found in the headwaters of Oregon rivers.  They are predatory fish, eating mostly insects as juveniles and other fish as adults.  Spawning occurs in the autumn when water temperatures drop below 50F/10C .  The Metolious River and the Metolious arm of Lake Billy Chinook are two of the rare places in Oregon where you can catch and keep Bull Trout.

October 2018 – ODFW Current Conditions for LAKE BILLY CHINOOK: bull, brown and rainbow trout, kokanee, smallmouth bass

Bull trout fishing is good in the Metolius arm and fair in the Deschutes and Crooked arms.  Harvest is limited to 1 bull trout over 24-inches under the daily trout limit. Note: Anglers can now keep 5 kokanee in addition to daily trout limit. No bag or size limits on brown trout.

October 2018 – ODFW Current Conditions for METOLIUS RIVER: rainbow trout, bull trout

Anglers report fair fishing. Catch-and-release for trout including bull trout. Fishing is restricted to fly-fishing only upstream of Bridge 99 (Lower Bridge). Artificial flies and lures permitted below Bridge 99 (Lower Bridge). No bait allowed.

What can be done long term to help ensure the survival of the Bull trout? 

A strong commitment by private citizens, industry, state, federal and tribal groups to change, reduce or eliminate activities that degrade streams and rivers will be necessary to truly recover many species of native fish. Much bull trout habitat in mainstream rivers and streams is privately owned, making conservation activities on private lands a key element to restoring aquatic habitat and recovering native fish populations. In some areas, reducing the potential for hybridization of bull trout with non-native fish species would enhance bull trout survival and recovery.


Don’t Miss the Night Sky this Week

Blood Moon (

A lot is going on in the night sky during the last week of July. Some of the shortest nights of the year in the Northern Hemisphere give us a quick glimpse into the heavens.  Planetary viewing is great with Venus the bright Evening Star, Saturn, Mars and Mercury all showing off.

If you are coming out to The Cove, this is a great time to bring your telescope.  If you don’t have one, the sky is still dazzling for those of us that enjoy staying up late.  Ranger Erin will be leading full moon night hikes at 9 pm on Thursday, July 26 in the Deschutes Campground/meet at the store. Also, Sunday July 29 in the Crooked River Campground/meet at the Amphitheater.

Things to Watch For:

Thursday, July 26 – Mars at Opposition – Get ready to see the Red Planet up close: Just after Mars reaches opposition with the sun, observers on Earth will have their closest view of the planet since 2003.  Mars will be brightest, it will reach that closest point on July 31.

Friday, July 27 – Full “Hay” or “Thunder” Moon – It’s also a Blood Moon (The lunar eclipse occurring will not be visible from North America)

July 17 – August 24 – Perseid Meteor Showers (Peak is August 11 and 12)

Fire Ban in Effect Statewide

Governor Brown declared a fire emergency today. In accordance with this, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has temporarily banned campfires in all facilities statewide to help do our part to ensure the safety of Oregon’s Parks and their surrounding communities.  This includes the use of charcoal briquettes, tiki torches, all candles, or any open flame that cannot be immediately turned off with a valve.  Large propane fire rings are not permitted on all sites. (check with the park you are headed to for current restrictions.)  Propane cook stoves are permitted; however propane fires may not be left on and unattended.

Visitors planning a trip to a state park should check for up-to-date information about fire restrictions by calling the state parks info line at 800-551-6949.

Partial Fire Restriction at The Cove


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Photo by Hasan Albari on

The Cove Palisades Management Unit is instituting a partial campfire restriction effective immediately. 

7 AM – 8 PM  until further notice there will be NO open flames of any kind except for propane cook stoves (allowed for cooking only.)

8 PM – 7 AM small campfires in designated areas within the campgrounds will be allowed, which will include the use of charcoal briquettes and propane stoves.  No citronella or regular candles, tiki torches, or other open flames will be allowed.

These restrictions will remain in effect until we see temperatures and relative humidity change to a less dangerous level – see park website for the most up to date information: The Cove Palisades State Park

If you have questions, please call the park at 541-546-3412.

Bats at The Cove

Oregon has 15 species of bats, up to 13 of those species are found in Central Oregon and 8 of those are Oregon Conservation Strategy Species. (These are animals that have small or declining populations, are at-risk, and/or of management concern.)

Bats are flying mammals that can reach speeds of 20 to 30 mph.  All bats in Oregon are insectivores.  Bats use echolocation which allows them to make high-pitched sounds then listen to the echo of those sounds to locate where objects are. Echolocation helps them find even the smallest insect. Bats are incredibly important as pollinators and provide humans with natural pest control.  One little brown bat can eat up to 1000 insects in an hour!

Recently The Cove purchased a new bat detector to be used on visitor hikes in the park.  It is called an Eco Meter Touch 2 by Wildlife Acoustics and it uses smartphone technology to display bats ultrasonic echolocation calls as they fly and identifies the bat species.

While we see bats and even here them occasionally, with this new technology Rangers can quickly identify the type of bats that are here in real time.  We can record their sounds and even email them to visitors on the hike.  Interpretive Ranger Erin Bennett used the detector for the first time on Thursday.   “It is so exciting to know exactly what kind of bats are flying around out there in the dark.  Now when a visitor asks, I can tell them definitively,” Bennett said.  She found five different species of bats flying just east of the Deschutes River –

Little Brown Bat

California Myotis

Western Small-footed Myotis

Canyon Bat

Hoary Bat

Learn more about Oregon’s bats by joining Cove staff on night hikes at The Cove this summer or go online to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s websites Living with Wildlife, Bats page including a fun batty for bats flyer, plans for building bat houses and information on White Nose Syndrome.