Author Archives: the Oregon State Parks Team
If you can’t make it to the The Cove Palisades for this weekend’s Eagle Watch (Feb. 22-23), you could take a drive to the central Willamette Valley near Tangent for an eagle convocation that attracts up to 100 raptors each evening. Make a day out of it and swing by Thompson’s Mills State Heritage Site for a tour of Oregon’s oldest water-powered mill.
Feb. 22-23 celebration honors eagles and other raptors at Lake Billy Chinook
The 19th annual event in Central Oregon explores the natural and cultural significance of the birds via an “Eagle Village” at Round Butte Overlook Park and guided viewing sessions at both Round Butte and The Cove Palisades State Park.
“The eagle holds a significant place in tribal culture and traditions,” said Robert “Bobby” Brunoe, natural resources general manager for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. “It is honored throughout the year for its spiritual significance, and Eagle Watch provides a special opportunity to gather together and share what that represents to us all.”
Start your day at Round Butte Overlook Park’s visitor center, located 10 miles west of Madras. Tour the “Eagle Village” displays and see presentations by regional birds-of-prey experts. Crafts are available for the kids. Enter the prize drawings, too. Event hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday.
“Eagle Watch is a fantastic opportunity to see both bald and golden eagles,” said Paul Patton, event coordinator and Oregon State Parks resource specialist. “Ten pairs of bald eagles and ten pairs of golden eagles live in the area year-round, and migrant bald eagles join the resident birds January-March. That makes this one of the largest gathering spots for eagles in the region.”
You can see the eagles on guided viewing sessions both days at Round Butte Overlook and The Cove Palisades. Shuttles will be available to move between the sites.
The Quartz Creek Drummers and Dancers will cap off the event 2 p.m. Sunday with tribal drumming and dancing sponsored by Warm Springs Power and Water Enterprises
Admission to all Eagle Watch events is free, and complimentary parking is available at Round Butte Overlook Park (an Oregon State Parks day-use permit is required to park vehicles at The Cove Palisades State Park).
You can make reservations to camp or stay in a cabin at The Cove Palisades or Tumalo State Park (45 miles south) by calling 1-800-452-5687. Private camping is available at the Central Oregon KOA east of Culver and the Mountain View RV Park in Metolius.
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD), Portland General Electric (PGE), and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs host the event. Sponsors include the Oregon Eagle Foundation, Sunriver Nature Center, Crooked River National Grassland (U.S. Forest Service), Raven Research West, Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, East Cascades Audubon Society, The Museum at Warm Springs, Bureau of Land Management, Madras-Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, Earth2O, Kah-Nee-Ta Resort and Spa, and Telecom Pioneers of America.
For more information about Eagle Watch, call the Oregon State Parks information line at 1-800-551-6949 or visit oregonstateparks.org.
The Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission recently adopted new rules that spell out where you can smoke outdoors in Oregon’s state parks.
Richard Walkoski, communications and research specialist, says that under the new rules smoking is allowed in:
- personal vehicles, tents and recreational vehicles in accordance with other laws governing smoking in vehicles;
- designated campsites in developed overnight camping areas, unless temporarily suspended due to high fire hazard;
- day-use state parks operating as official Safety Rest Areas; and
- where permitted by the park manager for personal use by a member of a federally recognized Oregon tribe as part of their traditional religious, medicinal, or other customary cultural heritage practices.
Prior to the Commission action, public meetings were held in Grants Pass, Champoeg State Heritage Area, Bend and Newport in December 2013, followed by a 30-day public comment period that ended Jan. 17, 2014. People sent 116 e-mail comments and 10 letters, and nine people commented at the public hearings. The comments were divided with 80 in support and 55 opposed. Some people, including an advisory committee helping us with the rule, asked us to examine smoking on the ocean shore, so we’ll review that next.
The rule may be on the books, but we’ll spend 2014 just letting park visitors know about the new rule. Enforcement would start in 2015, and even then, we always start out with a polite request.
Read the commission agenda item for background information.