OPRD’s annual December parking permit sale started Thursday. From Dec. 1-31, visitors and holiday shoppers can buy an annual parking permit for only $25—that’s $5 off the regular price of $30. OPRD parking permits can be purchased online at OPRD store
Also, don’t forget you can get great new gifts for the holidays too!
Staff at The Cove Palisades State Park are thankful for working in a beautiful place and all of our wonderful park visitors. Happy Thanksgiving!
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) invites the public to visit state parks for free on Nov. 25. For the second successive year, the department will wave day-use parking fees at the 26 state parks the charge them.
“We invite you to join a new tradition: Green Friday,” said OPRD Director Lisa Sumption. “Why not skip the mall, and instead come out to play with your family and friends at your favorite state park?”
11/25/16 – To Celebrate, The Cove Palisades State Park – Join Ranger Erin Bennett for a hike on the Crooked River Wetlands Trail at 9:00 am. Meet at the Crooked River campground check-in booth. Hike is approximately a quarter mile, on flat surfaces and is ADA accessible. FREE
Parking is free year-round at almost all state parks; the waiver applies to the 26 parks that charge $5 daily for parking. 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 http://bit.ly/OregonStateParksParking.
Visit the Oregon State Parks website for directions to each park: www.oregonstateparks.org.
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.
Starting November 17, 2016, state park campers can make reservations for campsites, yurts, and cabins to enjoy the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse. The normal advance campsite reservation window opens nine months before the first night of a visitor’s stay, but a temporary change to the reservation system will affect people who want to make a 14-night reservation, the maximum allowed in Oregon’s State Park system.
The state park system accepts reservations nine months in advance, but it would normally be possible to get a reservation for Aug. 21 by booking the maximum 14-night stay on November 7, 2016. Given the expected high demand for sites around the eclipse, and to prevent overbooking that could interfere with other visitors’ summer vacation plans, state parks along and near the eclipse path will not accept reservations for Aug. 17-21, 2017 until November 17, 2016. This is ten days after OPRD’s standard rolling nine month reservation window would normally allow a camper to make a long reservation.
On Nov. 17, 2016, the normal rolling nine month window will resume for all sites that accept reservations at parks along and near the eclipse path.
“We made this change to accommodate all visitors, both those planning for the eclipse and those who are planning an unrelated camping trip,” said Chris Havel, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department spokesperson. “We encourage eclipse campers to extend their stay with us for a day or more before and after the eclipse to reduce the congestion on the roads.”
The Nov. 17 reservation opening date applies to the following campgrounds inside the path of totality–Devil’s Lake, Beverly Beach, South Beach, Silver Falls, Detroit Lake, The Cove Palisades, and Farewell Bend.
Campgrounds that are up to 30 miles outside the path of totality are also affected by the temporary change to reservation rules: Beachside, Cape Lookout, Washburne (yurts only), Honeyman, Nehalem Bay, Stub Stewart, Champoeg, Milo McIver, Ainsworth, Memaloose, Viento, Deschutes River, Tumalo, LaPine, Prineville Reservoir, Lake Owyhee and Wallowa Lake.
OPRD is making plans to temporarily convert first-come, first-served state park campgrounds to reservation-only for the eclipse, so additional campsites will be made available at a later date.
“We are also working on ways to open more state park areas to camping for the event,” Havel said. “We want to make sure people can make solid plans well in advance to avoid congestion.”
Customers can make reservations for any stay that includes Aug. 17-21 beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 17 at oregonstateparks.org.
Campgrounds run by the US Forest Service will start taking reservations six months in advance, in February 2017.
The eclipse will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 21, 2017. The 60-mile wide path of totality–when the moon completely blocks the sun–will last for about two minutes starting at 10:15 a.m. on the coast between Newport and Lincoln City. The path of totality then sweeps through the state and on to Idaho, then runs across the United States toward South Carolina. For more information about the eclipse, visit http://bit.ly/OregonStateParks2017Eclipse.
One of my favorite Central Oregon animals is the porcupine, which happens to be the second largest rodent in North America (third in the world, after capybara and beaver); but it is not the animal that first comes to mind when I think of Halloween. North American porcupines eat plants and favor any number of herbaceous delicacies. Porcupines rely entirely on their nose for food search. Considered a nocturnal, generalist herbivore, porcupines consume tree bark, leaves, conifer needles, buds from conifers and deciduous trees, wildflowers, fruit, nuts, rose hips, and ground vegetation. They’ve been known to chew on axe handles and tires for salt. So I guess squash shouldn’t be a surprise.
This summer I was preparing for a porcupine program and found a YouTube video you have to see! Meet “Teddy Bear” the porcupine – Teddy Bear was orphaned and taken to animal shelter called Zooniversity in Dallas. He now travels to schools teaching people about porcupines – and winning their hearts with his cuteness! As zookeeper Allison Blankenship asks questions, Teddy’s little squeaks seem to answer her back.
- Porcupines live up to 20 years old. They are the second oldest living rodent in the world. (following Naked Mole Rats)
- They do not hibernate, they are active all year.
- Like monkeys they are divided into old world and new world species. Old World porcupines are much larger than New World porcupines with quills up to a foot long. In Africa, they are thought to bring good luck and are worn as ornaments by many tribes.
- North American porcupines have approximately 30,000 quills on their bodies.
- They are very peaceful yet territorial rodents and may become offensive when threatened.
- Porcupines cannot throw their quills at predators; rather the quills get detached from their body when in proximity to other animal’s skin.
- North American porcupines do not eat and sleep in the same tree.
- Porcupines can accidentally stick themselves to a branch, or any other thing while falling from a tree. They are the only mammal that can produce their own antibiotic.
- If you want to see one up close, visit the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon.
It’s more than just “don’t feed the wild carnivores.” But, uh, don’t feed wild carnivores.
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram always seem to be full of photos of people’s outdoor adventures. But not everyone who likes spending time in the wild really knows what they’re doing out there — and according to a study published this week in Scientific Reports, that’s why humans are increasingly being attacked by wild animals.
A group of researchers from Europe and Canada analyzed data on 697 documented attacks on humans by large carnivores, including bears, cougars and coyotes, in North America, Russia and two countries in Europe.
They found that nearly half of all the observed attacks, which occurred between 1955 and 2014, involved risky behaviors on the part of the human victim.
The most common of those risky behaviors? Leaving a child unattended in the wilderness.
The researchers also found that as populations of large carnivores recover in developed countries (a result of successful conservation efforts), the number of “bold individuals” engaging in outdoor activities has also increased.
The data suggests that most people who explore the outdoors have no idea just how dangerous these habitats really are, according to the researchers.
For evidence, look no further than Lake Tahoe, California, or Water Canyon Park in Colorado, where officials have had to issue official warnings because too many people were trying to take selfies with wild bears.
“A lot of what people do is based on a total lack of knowledge about what is dangerous and what isn’t,” Stephen Herrero, a researcher from the University of Calgary who was involved in the study, told the Canadian Broadcasting Company this week.
“Half of the attacks could have probably been avoided if people had done some pretty simple things,” he went on.
But what exactly constitutes “risk-enhancing behavior”? The definition is more broad than you might think, and includes things you’ve probably done at least once in your life.
These were the five most common behaviors people were engaged in at the time of an animal attack, according to the study:
- Parents (or adults) leaving children unattended
- Walking a dog without a leash
- Hunting or searching for a wounded animal
- Engaging in outdoor activities at night or before dawn
- Approaching a female carnivore with its young
Other risky actions include feeding a wild carnivore and encountering a carnivore that has been fed by humans in the past and therefore approaches humans in search of an easy meal.
The researchers note that while these types of attacks on humans are extremely rare, they tend to have dire consequences for both the human and the animal — especially when media reports sensationalize individual attacks and make them seem more common than they really are.
In 2014, for example, Australia began a controversial cull on sharks — including great white sharks, considered a threatened species — in response to seven fatal shark attacks in three years, despite a number of experts arguing that such a response would not reduce the already low risk of attack.
The study’s authors echo this sentiment, adding that this type of reaction hurts conservation efforts for these carnivores.
“When attacks occur,” the researchers wrote, “large carnivores are frequently killed and negative attitudes toward large carnivores harden.”
If we’re all going to be the great adventurers we portray on social media, then we have to learn how to live safely alongside these wild animals, the researchers urge.
Before going on a hike or a camping trip, or entering a national park or any area that carnivores call home, make sure to follow all safety rules posted by federal wildlife agencies.
And please, leave wild animals — especially carnivores — alone.
At The Cove Palisades State Park, we do not have bears or wolves in the park; however we do have other carnivores like cougar, various omnivores and even some bolder herbivores, such as mule deer that think they should eat Doritos. Cougars dislike a lot of noise and activity. They will not walk into camp and beg for food but the others will not hesitate to search out and greedily inhale human handouts. If you feel the need to hand feed a wild animal remember that they can bite or carry disease. That cute little forest creature that you were dying to have a selfie with only moments before, can become a despised varmint instantaneously. Feeding wildlife can have devastating, even if unintentional, consequences to either animal and/or human.
While wildlife encounters are typically very safe at The Cove; practice not feeding any wildlife. There is plenty of natural food for them in the park already.
Thanks for doing your part to keep The Cove’s animals wild!
That wonderful smell of rain on wet asphalt, is actually a chemical reaction. The air smells good after a rain, and much of the reason is a thing called “petrichor.”
“Petrichor,” is constructed from Greek petra, meaning “stone”, and ichor, the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology (Blood of the Stone). The smell itself comes about when increased humidity – a pre-cursor to rain – fills the pores of stones (rocks, soil, etc.) with tiny amounts of water. While it’s only a minuscule amount, it is enough to flush the oil from the stone and release petrichor into the air.
Some plants secrete oils during dry periods that accumulate in dirt and rocks, and when it rains, these oils are released into the air. As the water activates the oils it invariably hits you: the sweet, fresh, powerfully evocative smell of fresh rain. The second reaction that creates petrichor occurs when chemicals produced by soil-dwelling bacteria known as actinomycetes are released. These aromatic compounds combine to create the pleasant petrichor scent when rain hits the ground. Studies have revealed that the human nose is extremely sensitive to geosmin in particular—some people can detect it at concentrations as low as 5 parts per trillion. You may also smell this if you are turning soil over in your garden.
Another scent associated with rain is ozone (O3). Some people say they can smell a storm coming. This can occur if wind pushes the ozone ahead of the storm. During a thunderstorm, lightning can split oxygen and nitrogen molecules in the atmosphere, and they in turn can recombine into nitric oxide (NO). This substance interacts with other chemicals in the atmosphere to form ozone, which has a sharp smell faintly reminiscent of chlorine and it can carry over far distances from high altitudues.
Autumn Equinox September 22, 2016
The term equinox is used by meteorologists to mark the change in seasons in spring and autumn, and occurs when the sun passes directly over the equator, creating a day and night that are the same in length. The equinox occurs because of the tilt of the Earth in relation to the sun. The Earth’s tilt is 23.5 degrees relative to the plane of its orbit and means that, although one revolution of the planet takes 24 hours – it’s different depending on the time of year. On the autumnal equinox, the Earth hits the turning point in its orbit where neither the North or the South poles are tilted towards the sun. That means the amount of daylight and night time is the same at all points on the Earth’s surface.
The Cove Palisades State Park is renumbering campsites in the Deschutes Campground. This affects Loops A and B. C loop will stay the same. Ultimately this will reduce confusion and make finding your site a lot easier.
Deschutes River Campground is open mid-May through mid-September. Please note when making reservations that if you have a favorite site, it will have a new number. You can find a map of the campground at: http://oregonstateparks.reserveamerica.com/camping/cove-palisades-state-park/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=OR&parkId=402446
Labor Day has come and gone. The rabbitbrush is starting to fade. Geese are beginning to fly south, taking summer along with them. Crisp nights and cool mornings are a sure sign that fall is here. 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. You are certain to see some of the most awe inspiring views of Lake Billy Chinook . It’s definitely worth lugging a camera and water with you!
Not a hiker? Being on the water provides a whole new perspective of the park, and the peace and quiet of this slower time of the year can really give you the opportunity to relax and appreciate the beauty that surrounds you. Bring a kayak, canoe or stand up paddle board and try paddling along the Deschutes or Crooked Rivers? Our all new non-motorized, water trail along the Crooked River will guide you on the best route for how far you want to go.
Prefer a little more information as you paddle along? Book a guided kayak tour of the Deschutes arm of the lake! Your guide will point out some of the geological features of The Cove and help look for wildlife as you go along. These tours are available Thursday and Saturday mornings in September and Saturday mornings in October. Call the park office for details and to reserve your space (541) 546-3412.
If you’d rather 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 house and bat boxes built by Culver students, as well as the Certified Monarch Way Station the middle schoolers planted last school year. You never know what kind of wildlife you might encounter along the way.
As summer leaves, the busyness settles down, and fall colors peek out around the park, 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. Deer are more active as they prepare to rut, ducks are pairing up and coyotes have been howling. In fact, just about any trail or dock 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.