New Silver Falls State Park Blog!

Check out the new Silver Falls State Park blog and discover what’s happening at The Falls!

www.SilverFallsStatePark.wordpress.com

The Silver Falls State Park blog will soon be replacing the Friends of Silver Falls blog you see here, so be sure to follow the new Silver Falls blog for everything going on at The Falls.

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Spring Arrives on the Forest Floor

Bleeding Heart

Bleeding Heart

Oxalis

Oxalis

Looking for a relaxing and energizing activity where you can enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest? Join Earl McCollum on his Thursday hikes in the Mist Zone at 2 p.m. at Silver Falls State Park. All interested parties, young and old meet at the Main Lodge in the South Falls Day Use area. Be ready to learn about what’s growing under your feet, as well as what towers over your head – then if you’re lucky you can cool down under South Falls. Earl says now is the best time since so many wildflowers are blooming.

Western Trillium

Western Trillium

The Western Trillium is an early bloomer with 3 white petals and 3 broad leaves. The flowers turn pink to purple as they age.

Calypso Orchid

Calypso Orchid

The Calypso Orchid is a delicate single pink flowered plant that grows in the damp shade of the Doug Firs. The Red Flowering Currant, Oregon Grape,

Yellow Wood Violet

Yellow Wood Violet

Salmonberry

Salmonberry

Yellow Wood Violet, and Salmonberry are among others that are currently blooming. Call 503-873-8735 during the week for information about this and other hikes.

Corydalis

Corydalis

Fairy Bells

Fairy Bells

Tway Blade Orchid NW

Tway Blade Orchid NW

Explained: History of Silver Falls

Silver Falls City HomesteadIf you’re a fan of history like I am and want to explore some of the famous characters in Silver Falls’ fascinating story, check out this timeline and Civilian Conservation Corps brochure.

Silver Falls History_Draft July 2011

CCC Interpretive Brochure

Pacific sideband snail

Snail fullSome wild animals in the park don’t attract much attention. They don’t fly, they don’t run, they don’t even walk, nor do they run away or dig holes to evade detection. They are seldom noticed. They are not furry or feathery, or cute or pretty. And they don’t vocalize with chirps or growls or any other sounds.

Such is the Pacific sideband snail.

Take a close look at it, and it is attractive—sort of. It’s a big snail relative to other snail species. Its colorful shell, shaped like an ear’s cochlea, has an orderly pattern of reddish brown, dark brown, black, beige, and other colors. The raised central whorl of the shell is worn and pale, typical of this snail species. Its fleshy part outside its shell is colored two shades of brown. Tiny raised milk chocolate shapes crowd the surface of the dark bitter sweet chocolate skin. Two long delicate retractable tentacles come out of its forehead, and two short ones come out on either side of its mouth. The longer forehead tentacles end in eyes. A slow moving animal, it travels at a snail’s pace.

Loss and fragmentation of habitat has greatly reduced the snail’s population, though it’s not yet on a U.S list of endangered or watched animal species. British Columbia, Canada, however, has it on its concerned list.

The snail prefers habitat of moist ground layered with leaves, fir needles, moss, and other debris in deciduous and coniferous forests. The shell at full maturity, which takes two years, measures about an inch and three-eighths in diameter. The snail can live up to six years.

The snail eats fungi and most any vegetation. It eats using its radula. A combination of tongue and teeth is an inaccurate though useful way of describing it. They use it to scrape and shred food so it can be ingested.

Snails are simultaneous hermaphrodites. They are both male and female, that is, they have both male and female sex organs at the same time. (Serial hermaphrodites have both male and female organs but at different times in their life cycle).

Most snails, including the Pacific sideband, have two pairs of tentacles. The uppermost pair carries eyes. The lower pair is the snail’s nostrils.

Explore: Adopt-a-Rock Activity for Kids!

Many of us collected rocks as kids.  And some of us still do.  I know I hauled thirty pounds of them across the United States when I moved to Oregon six years ago.  Some of my favorite rocks are on display throughout my house.  Each one brings me back to a special place and time.

This activity is designed to facilitate that passion for rocks in children while incorporating a basic geology lesson.  It could work well as part of an earth studies unit or an art or writing lesson.  A wonderful book to use as an introduction is Everybody Needs a Rock by Byrd Baylor.  Just remember that all rocks found at Silver Falls must stay at Silver Falls for others to enjoy!

Adopt-A-Rock Geology Activity

Geology Brochure

Run ‘Em All at Silver Falls!

Love running?  Love waterfalls?  Me, too.  Silver Falls is a great place for training runs.  And now you really have something to train for.

On Saturday, November 3, 2012, Silver Falls State Park will host its FIRST trail marathon.  Coordinated by Run Wild Adventures, this race opens for registration on August 1, 2012.  If it is anything like the 1/2 marathon (that takes place on the same day) registration will fill quickly.  Keep on eye on this website for updates:

http://www.silverfallsmarathon.com/

Explained Again: Silver Falls Geology for the Rock Lover

I’ve already posted a short and sweet brochure on the geology of Silver Falls.  But, if you’re a rock-hound like me, it might not have been quite enough for you.  Here’s a more in-depth look at and explanation of the Willamette Valley’s waterfall wonderland.

Silver Falls Geology_Oregon Ore Bin