Located in the Pacific Northwest region on the Pacific Coast of the United States, Oregon is the 9th largest state in terms of area and the 27th largest in terms of population. This makes Oregon one of the least densely populated states. Oregon covers an area of 98,381 square miles and has an estimated total population of 4.14 million people. Nicknamed the 'Beaver State', Oregon possesses some of the most varied landscapes in all of America including volcanoes, mountains, forests, high deserts, and large bodies of water. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
5 of the Largest Cities in Oregon
- Overview, Photo: Lukas/stock.adobe.com
- Portland, Photo: yooranpark/stock.adobe.com
- Salem, Photo: jpldesigns/stock.adobe.com
- Eugene, Photo: SeanPavonePhoto/stock.adobe.com
- Gresham, Photo: RG/stock.adobe.com
- Hillsboro, Photo: Dmitry/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of pngstudio - Fotolia.com
More Ideas: Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center
The Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center is a not-for-profit educational organization situated within a 35,000-acre forest known as the Opal Creek Wilderness and Scenic Recreation Area, on Cascade Mountain’s west slope, 1 hour east of Oregon and around 2 hours from Portland.
Maintaining and stewarding the ancient mining town of Jawbone Flats, the center’s roots span back to 1989, when the Friends of Opal Creek began efforts to protect the Opal Creek watershed ecosystems. The Opal Creek forest itself has evidence of Native American inhabitants from around 2,000 years ago, with lithic scatter and points suggesting this timeline. With such rich history and ecological significance, the center was created by the Friends of Opal Creek to have as a base from which to secure the ongoing protection of the watershed by spreading public awareness of its cultural and natural resources, animal and plant diversity, ecological interest, and scenic beauty.
Many of the buildings of the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center date back to the 1930s, with their upkeep supported by individual donors and local foundations. The area is operated under a special USFS permit with the Willamette and Mountain Hood National Forests.Cabins that may be used by hikers and those undertaking certain programs and workshops can be found 3 miles inside the Opal Creek forest by walking alongside the Santiam River. Equipped with water heaters, electricity, and running water and warmed by either baseboard heaters or wood stoves, the cabins also feature beds in addition to such basic kitchen appliances as stove tops and refrigerators as well as cookware and utensils.
There is an onsite kitchen for staff and visitors, offering mostly vegetarian meals. Providing home-cooked food from organic and non-GMO producers, farmers, and retailers where possible, the dishes ranges from salads and dressings to pastries and bread. Additional dietary requirements can be catered for when making a reservation, which must be made 2 weeks before arrival.
Hiking, one of the best ways to see the temperate rainforest of Opal Creek, sees 5,000-foot peaks and elevation gains of around 2,200 feet. The average yearly rainfall is approximately 90 inches, with the summer months of July, August, and September experiencing the driest weather per year. Visitors usually park at the Opal Creek trailhead, and those who do will require a Forest Service parking permit. There are a number of hikes from various trailheads, including the Opal Creek and Elk Lake trails.
Those exploring the local area will see many examples of ecological interest. Visitors will encounter old and dead trees as well as yew trees, shrubs, wildflowers, ferns, mosses, and bryophytes. A large array of fungi can be seen as can lichen, while mammals such as bobcats, flying squirrels, and chipmunks also abound. Birds that frequent the area are both migratory and resident. Carpenter ants and other insects can be found on the trees and among the undergrowth alongside toads, frogs, and salamanders.
Located in the center of the Opal Creek wilderness is a solar-powered classroom and laboratory space. Complete with projector, microscopes, and educational resources, this space is used for educational programs and workshops. Opal Creek merchandise can be found in the Company Store building. Used as a fuel depot in the 1950s, the store is situated on the main trail and sells products such as canvas tote bags, apparel, bandanas, and postcards.
Ongoing programs and education
The Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center offers a range of workshops to suit all ages, including the flagship program Opal Creek Expeditions. Unique to the center, this program sees summer backpacking trips for individuals aged 10 to 18 to learn observational science and travel skills within the forest environment. Further programs for children include the Basecamp and Junior Basecamp programs for 8 to 12-year-olds. Adult workshops are taught by local experts during spring and fall and the topics vary seasonally. Family workshops offer a shared stay in cabins and involve ecological exploration in addition to arts and crafts.
In terms of education, the center partners with the National Outdoor Leadership School’s Medicine Institute to offer a handful of wilderness medicine courses designed to prepare and train medical and outdoor professionals in emergency situations where communications and resources are in limited supply.
721 NW 9th Ave, Portland, OR 97209, Phone: 503-892-2782
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More Ideas: Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks in Oregon and Washington
Located near the mouth of the Columbia River in the American Pacific Northwest states of Oregon and Washington, the Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks are a series of parks run in cooperation with the United States National Park Service, honoring the famed Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804-1806.
The park system comprises six parks commemorating notable sites along Lewis and Clark's voyages, including Fort Clatsop, the final encampment for the duo's Corps of Discovery.
Beginning on May 14, 1804, a group of 31 United States military volunteers, helmed by Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, undertook a cross-country expedition at the behest of President Thomas Jefferson, who wished to explore the uncharted territory to the west of the Mississippi River and establish a direct travel route to the Pacific Ocean. After a year and a half of travel, the expedition group reached the ocean, establishing a fort 2 miles upstream at the Netul River and naming it after the local Clatsop Native American tribe. The group remained at the fort for 3 months over the winter of 1805-1806, before embarking on their return trip to St. Louis, Missouri.
The exact location of the original Fort Clatsop is unknown, as it soon deteriorated in the region's wet climate. Using original sketches by William Clark, a replica of the fort was constructed near the presumed location in 1955, as part of the sesquicentennial celebration of Lewis and Clark reaching the Pacific, and was established as a federal park site in May of 1958. On October 30, 2004, the area was redesignated as the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, a federal national park overseeing several other nearby historic sites connected to the expedition. The following November, three Oregon and two Washington state parks were incorporated into the park system.
Historic Sites and Attractions
Today, the federal park encompasses seven historical sites, including the Fort Clatsop replica, which was reconstructed in 2006 after being damaged in a fire just prior to its 2005 bicentennial commemoration. The replica site is part of a visitor center, which also includes an exhibit hall and gift shop and presents two educational films daily. Ranger-led historical and nature programming is offered at the center, which serves as the trailhead for the Fort to Sea Trail, a 6.5-mile hike that retraces the corps' original paths.
More than 150 acres of coastal forestland surrounding the Dismal Nitch site are preserved as part of the park. A November 1805 winter storm trapped the corps onto a patch of rocky shoreline and hillside, a site referred to as "that dismal little nitch" in Clark's travelogue. Today, the area offers dramatic views of the Columbia River as well as bald eagle watching sites. Other preserved historic sites in the park include Middle Village-Station Camp, a Chinook trading village site used as a survey station for expedition members to map the Columbia River, Netul Landing, which commemorates the original name of the Lewis and Clark River, the corps' Salt Works site, and a Thomas Jefferson Memorial.
In Oregon, the park system also includes Ecola State Park, the site of an 1806 trek by the corps, which features several miles of hiking trails and has been featured prominently in film and television. The 3,700-acre Fort Stevens State Park is the site of a former Civil War era military installation, and the Sunset Beach State Recreation Area is located at the end of the Fort to Sea Trail, providing visitors with access to the Pacific Ocean. Nearby, Washington's Cape Disappointment State Park features two lighthouses and 27 miles of beachfront trails, and Fort Columbia State Park, a former coastal artillery, commemorates regional military history.
Ongoing Programs and Education
The federal park's archival museum collections document the history of the area prior to the Lewis and Clark Expedition, with a focus on archaeological and ethnological documentation of the area's indigenous Clatsop, Nehalem, and Chinook peoples. While no holdings can be definitively associated with the expedition, historic objects from the time period are also featured in the collection, along with botanical specimens reflecting the corps' plant documentation and a large number of documents and photographs related to the establishment of Fort Clatsop as a historic monument.
In addition to the park system's trails, 3-hour paddle tours of the Lewis and Clark River are offered, led by rangers elaborating on park and expedition history. Monthly lecture series are presented by the federal park, including the Nature Matters series, focusing on topics of nature and culture, and the In Their Footsteps series, highlighting historical scholars, authors, and artists. The Fort Clatsop Visitor Center also doubles as an outdoor classroom, offering educational experiences for children and adults.
92343 Fort Clatsop Rd, Astoria, OR 97103, Phone: 503-861-2471
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More Ideas: Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum
Located in McMinnville, Oregon, the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum displays a variety of military and civilian airplanes and spacecraft, including the famed Hughes H-4 Hercules Spruce Goose, and offers an aviation-themed water park and IMAX theater. The Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum was the vision of Captain Michael King Smith, the son of Delford Smith, founder of Evergreen International Aviation, an international aviation services company best known for its commercial helicopter operations related to the agricultural industry.
The museum’s collections began with a collection of vintage aircraft displayed at the Evergreen headquarters facility, renamed and rebranded as the Evergreen AirVenture Museum in 1994. Following Smith’s death in an automobile accident in 1995, the museum was renamed in 1997 as the Captain Michael King Smith Evergreen Aviation Educational Center.
In 1992, the museum was selected by the Aero Club of Southern California as the new home of the Hughes H-4 Hercules Spruce Goose, a historic prototype airlift flying boat formerly owned by the Walt Disney Company, known as the largest flying boat ever constructed with the largest wingspan of any aircraft. A second museum building housing spacecraft was constructed in 2006 and opened to the public in June of 2008, and a seven-story IMAX theater was added to the complex in 2007. In 2009, the museum became a Smithsonian Affiliate museum, and in 2016, the Michael King Smith Foundation sold the museum to the Falls Event Center at a cost of $10.9 million.
Permanent Exhibits and Attractions
Today, the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum is owned and operated by Falls Event Center, showcasing a variety of collections related to aviation and space travel history. The museum is located directly across Oregon Route 18 from the McMinnville Municipal Airport, housed within former Evergreen Aviation International facilities. In addition to the museum’s permanent collections, a number of displayed aircraft and artifacts are loaned to the museum by the Air Force Museum, the Naval Aviation Museum, the Marine Corps Museum, the Smithsonian Museum, and private aircraft collectors.
The museum’s centerpiece exhibit is the Spruce Goose, produced in 1947 at a total development cost of more than $23 million. Though it was commissioned as a transatlantic transport aircraft for use in World War II and intended as the first in a line of similar flying boats, the craft only made a single flight on November 2, 1947 and the project was never developed further. Following World War II, ownership of the craft was disputed until a settlement in the 1970s which bestowed the bulk of the craft to the Summa Corporation and a wing to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum for exhibit display. In 1980, the craft was acquired by the Aero Club of Southern California, and in 1988, it was briefly owned by the Walt Disney Company when it acquired the Aero Club’s Queen Mary exhibit. Following the Evergreen Museum’s acquisition of the craft in 1992, eight years of reassembly and restoration were undertaken by museum volunteers until the Spruce Goose was completed for display in December of 2001.
A variety of other historic aircraft and spacecraft are displayed at the museum, including the Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird reconnaissance plane, the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, and the North American T-39 Sabreliner. A Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile is showcased at the museum’s space center, along with a Martin Titan II SLV Space Launch Vehicle, Gemini and Mercury space capsules, and a recreated missile control room exhibit and space shuttle flight simulators. Many museum docents are former aviators who offer personal anecdotes with their flights aboard the museum’s aircraft, and film presentations throughout the museum chronicle the development and use of displayed artifacts. The museum is also home to the Oregon Aviation Hall of Honor, a seven-story IMAX Theater showcasing aviation-related films, and the adjacent Wings and Waves Waterpark, opened in 2011, which features four slides docking from inside a retired Boeing 747 craft. Two cafes, the Liberty Belle Café and the Cosmo Café, serve light locally-produced fare, and future museum plans feature the addition of an 84-room hotel and full-service restaurant.
Ongoing Programs and Education
Guided museum tours are offered for small groups and organizations, including curriculum-incorporated tours for elementary and secondary school groups. Tours of the Spruce Goose’s cockpit are also offered daily on a first-come, first-served basis. Summer camps, spring break activity days, and Night Flight overnight experiences are also offered for students, along with homeschool day and scout group programming. Several annual scholarships are presented by the museum for high school students, including the Captain Michael King Smith Private Pilot Scholarship and the Thomas E. “Tom” Pitzer Aviation Maintenance Scholarship. Private birthday party events may also be booked through the museum’s catering department.
500 NE Captain Michael King Smith Way, McMinnville, OR 97128, Phone: 503-434-4185
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