Northwest Forest Pass Required

We were greeted at the trail head for one of Oregon’s most outstanding hiking trails by the sign shown below. New to us but since we had not hiked the trail for several years we were surprised. Purchasing a pass on site is out of the question so the search for a ticket agent began. We drove to Cascade Locks and tried several dealers but no one seemed to know where the pass could be purchased. It occurred to us that perhaps the agents at Multnomah Falls would know. Eureka… they were willing and able to sell us a pass. Then I thought to ask about my Golden Age Pass. To my surprise the agent said I wouldn’t need the Northwest Forest Pass if I had any of the federal park passes. If you read the fine print on the sign no mention is made that any other pass is applicable. Do you wonder how many people buy a pass they don’t need?

byLarry

 

pass required sign at Eagle Creek... wait a minute
pass required sign at Eagle Creek… wait a minute
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Deschutes River butterflies

Cousin Marvin and I were out sauntering 15 April and stopped to check out the butterflies in Jones Canyon which is tributary to the Deschutes River Canyon on the western edge of Sherman County, Oregon. Normally a small creek flows across the gravel road and seems to be a good spot to find butterflies “puddling”.

We weren’t disappointed. We saw a half dozen comprising two species but we expected a lot more from past experiences at this time of year. It was significant that the creek was almost dry… well, described as damp at best without too much exaggeration.

The lack of moisture provides alarming prospects given this time of year with the snow melt from winter and the spring rains recently past. It appears we will have another very dry summer.

The photo is of a Northern Checkerspot (Chlosyne palla), a small butterfly (easily covered with a 50 cent coin) and common in these parts. They are a challenge to photograph because they seem to alarm easily. The other species was Acmon Blue (Plebejus acmon). Ours were easily identified as males (blue top wing rather than brown as in the females). The Checkerspots were probably males also since it is reported that the males puddle and the females do not.

Chlosyne palla Northern Checkerspot Jones Canyon, Deschutes River, Sherman County, OR
Chlosyne palla Northern Checkerspot Jones Canyon, Deschutes River, Sherman County, OR

There is some dispute over the name of this butterfly so let me provide a disclaimer. I am not an expert on the subject of butterflies so I rely on research done by experts. Robert Pyle’s book “The Butterflies of Cascadia” is a frequent resource.  Dana Ross has suggested that the butterfly in question is now called “Chlosyne acastus” (Sagebrush Checkerspot). He does so by providing ample evidence for the name change. You, gentle reader, might be happy with calling it a Checkerspot or maybe just “Butterfly.”  I intend to study a bit more and be less inclined to jump to a conclusion.

tbc

Larry

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Yachats, Oregon Coast

Our favorite wave-watching site is at Yachats, Oregon. From our motel window (Fireside Motel) we watched a winter storm cast up waves… a crab boat (Michele Ann) and seabirds of various species… mostly seagulls.

byLarry

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Malheur Field Station (MFS)

The Great Basin Society, Inc. (GBS) does business as the Malheur Field Station (MFS). GBS is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 charitable organization and depends in part on charitable donations for support of its business activities. I have been a member of the board of directors for several years and was delighted to be elected president of the board January 10, 2015, taking office April 1, 2015. Basically we meet quarterly. Our organization has bylaws and policy statements which govern our operation. According to bylaws we use Robert’s Rules of Order to govern our meetings. On December 6, 2015 I submitted the following letter of resignation by email to other members of the board:

“Hi all… Let me make it clear that this is not about our Station Directors it is about the board. It is clear to me that I do not enjoy the backing of the board… and it appears to me this board like previous boards is totally dysfunctional. I envisioned my leadership would be based on our bylaws and policies and yet this board does not follow either of them. It would have been easier for me to judge our Station Directors performance had they made the reports the policy handbook requires and that I had requested citing handbook policies. I realize that in the past the Station Directors have been required to work in a vacuum without direction from an active board. I intended to change that perspective but have been met with indifference by the board and total disrespect from the Station Directors. I have suggested on many occasions that the policies and job descriptions be updated but to no avail. During my tenure on the board committees have been appointed to make those updates and I volunteered to help but no action was taken. Given that I have no support from the board I have little choice but to resign as president and resign my chair on the board effective immediately. Good luck in your future endeavors. ”

Although my tenure on the board will not continue the story will not end here.

tbc byLarry

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Wolf !!

Young Bald Eagle near White River Falls State Park

“Wolf!, ” howled Marvin. He said at the moment he couldn’t think of the word “Eagle” but he wanted to say something that would get my attention. “Wolf!” worked for me. A wolf sighting would be very unusual indeed and a good photograph could be a grand prize winner. Formerly common in Oregon the wolf was considered extirpated with the last one turned in to collect a state bounty prior to 1950. The gray wolf was given federal protection in Oregon under the Endangered Species Act when they began making a comeback in northeastern Oregon having dispersed from Idaho.

Marvin and I had been exploring the lower Deschutes River from the central Oregon town of Maupin downstream to the boat launch and campground at Mack’s Landing. We had returned to State Highway 216 near Sherar’s Bridge intending to continue west to US highway 197 near the town of Tygh Valley. We had just passed the entrance to White River Falls State Park when Marvin spotted the Bald Eagle feeding on a deer carcass and howled “Wolf!”. Marvin was excitedly pointing off highway to my left where an adult Bald Eagle was shredding strips of flesh from a deer carcass, probably a road kill. A sudden stop would likely have flushed the eagle so we continued westbound on State Highway 216 a reasonable distance before turning our vehicle around for another look at the bird that is found on the federal Great Seal, the coat of arms, for the United States. Not wanting to disturb the bird and hoping the eagle would stay at the carcass long enough for us to take a few photographs we returned slowly and stopped roadside about 150 feet away from the deer carcass. Despite our careful approach the majestic white-headed eagle flew a short distance farther away, out of camera range, where it landed and watched us carefully. Finally it flew toward some distant trees and disappeared from our view.

We sat roadside for awhile, thinking the eagle might give in to hunger, abandon caution, and return to the carcass. Our car acted as a blind where our movements would be hidden, perhaps giving the eagle a sense of security. The adult bird did not return, however, but another eagle approached, this one a juvenile, and landed to feed on the deer carcass, providing us with ample opportunity for photographs. We stayed until the youngster ate its fill and departed. It was an awesome experience.

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Photographs of Nature