Champoeg State Heritage Area will host living history actors, a replica historic townsite and other family friendly activities for the annual Founders’ Day celebration Saturday, May 5. This year marks the 175th anniversary of the 1843 vote held in Champoeg that established the first provisional government west of the Mississippi River. The free event runs 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
“That vote began Oregon’s journey to statehood,” said Dan Klug, interpretive ranger at Champoeg State Heritage Area. “Founder’s Day celebrates that achievement and is great way for the family to learn more about the history of our state.”
Join us for a reenacted fur trappers’ camp, replica historic townsite with building facades, tradesmen demonstrating 19th-century techniques and a post office with souvenir post cards. A 1 p.m. ceremony to honor the original May 1843 voters will feature distinguished speakers, a mock vote and a rifle salute. The afternoon concludes with a live stagecoach run delivering the souvenir post cards to the St. Paul post office.
Founders’ Day celebrates a vote held in Champoeg by local settlers on May 2, 1843. A large group gathered that day to decide the future of the Oregon territory. After a spirited debate, a slim majority voted “aye” to form Oregon’s first provisional government, laying the groundwork for Oregon’s statehood in 1859. Founders’ Day has been held annually at Champoeg since 1901.
Event parking is free. Light refreshments will be available after the 1 p.m. ceremony. For more information, call 503-678-1251.
Gray whales are migrating north past the Oregon coast and we invite you to share the excitement during Spring Whale Watch Week March 24-31. Trained volunteers from the Whale Watching Spoken Here program will be stationed 10 a.m. — 1 p.m. each day at 24 sites along the coast, ready to help people spot the migrating marine mammals.
The Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay will be open 10 a.m. — 4 p.m. daily. Visitors to the center can enjoy interactive whale exhibits and take in the panoramic ocean views. Binoculars are provided. OPRD rangers will also be on hand to answer questions about the whales. A live stream of whale activity off of Depoe Bay returns this spring too; watch it on the Oregon State Parks YouTube channel. (https://www.youtube.com/user/OregonParks/)
Visit oregonstateparks.org for information about coast parks and campgrounds.
The arrival of spring brings many visitors to the Oregon coast and all of us want you to be safe while exploring the shoreline.
“March can be a tricky time of year on the coast,” says Lisa Stevenson, OPRD beach ranger speaking at Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area. “The ocean can still experience stormy winter weather despite the warmer temperatures on land.”
Coastal threats can come in the form of powerful waves, unstable logs on beaches and erosion of rocks and cliffs.
“People are so excited for the spring sunshine that sometimes safety takes a back seat,” Stevenson adds. “But preparation and common sense go a long way to keeping you safe on the coast.”
Stevenson lists several tips for ensuring your trip to the coast is a safe one:
- Always keep one eye on the ocean so you won’t be caught off guard if a bigger wave surges up the beach. These “sneaker waves” are unpredictable, powerful and especially dangerous for children.
- Stay away from logs on the wet sand or in the surf. These logs can weigh several tons and can be moved by only a few inches of water. The ocean is strong enough to pick up even the biggest log and roll it over you.
- Know when the tide is coming in, especially when exploring tidepools. It’s easy to become stranded by the incoming tide when your attention is elsewhere. You can keep track of tides with a tide table; OPRD park rangers and many local businesses can give you one for free.
- Be careful on cliffs and rocks. They can be unstable due to erosion. Stay on marked trails and do not climb over fences. Both are there to keep you safe.