Author Archives: the Oregon State Parks Team

Free camping for Whale Watching Spoken Here volunteers

Register now for training!

Gray whale surfaces near the Depoe Bay sea wall

Volunteer at a Whale Watching Spoken Here site for a birds-eye view of migrating whales.

Are you ready to help visitors spot gray whales during the winter and spring watch weeks? We’re looking for Whale Watching Spoken Here volunteers. Sign up for training sessions set for:

  • Dec. 6, 2014, in Newport, central coast;
  • Jan. 10, 2015, in Brookings, south coast;
  • Feb. 7, 2015 in Tillamook, north coast.

The day-long training includes an overview of gray whale biology and natural history, basic whale information, strategies for seeing whales and sharing whale facts with visitors. Dr. Bruce Mate, director of the Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute will lead the Dec. 6 session and marine biologist Carrie Newell will lead the Jan. 10 and Feb. 7 sessions.

You’ll receive one-night free tent or RV camping while you attend the training. The closest campgrounds are South Beach State Park  south of Newport, Harris Beach State Park north of Brookings and Cape Lookout State Park south of Tillamook. Sign up to volunteer at one of the 24 whale watching sites and the training and two nights of tent or RV camping during the watch weeks are free.

The training registration form, agenda and watch week sign-up form are available in the 2014-2015 Call for Volunteers newsletter. Fill out the online forms and either e-mail, fax or regular mail to Whale Watching Spoken Here. The address is on the forms.

Forage for mushrooms at Fort Stevens

Hats off to Agaricus augustus, also known as The Prince.

Hats off to Agaricus augustas, also known as the Prince.

Fort Stevens State Park near Astoria on Oregon’s north coast offers several sessions of two different mushroom programs this fall.

One-mile mushroom identification hikes led by Park Ranger Dane Osis begin at Battery Russell at 1 p.m. on Oct. 20 and Nov. 10 and 30. Wear weather-appropriate clothing and bring a basket, pocket knife and optional mushroom identification book. Hikers are also welcome to bring mushrooms for identification.

He will also present “Mysterious Mushrooms of Fort Stevens” about wild mushroom regulations, uses and the role mushrooms play in the health of the forest. Following the program, join him for a short hike around the park to look for and identify mushrooms. The programs are held at the Coffenbury Lake picnic shelter at 1 p.m. on Oct. 18 and Nov. 9, 22 and 29.

No registration is required for the free programs; parking is $5 at Coffenbury Lake. For more information, call or e-mail Dane Osis at (503) 861-3170.

Grant’s Getaways — Eagle Cap Excursion Train

Although the schedule for this year wraps up  Oct. 18, plan for 2015. Visit the Eagle Cap Excursion Train website for more information. Camping is available at Wallowa Lake State Park and Minam State Recreation Area, both in northeast Oregon.