Reasons to Celebrate

There are two great reasons to celebrate spring at Silver Falls this weekend.

Hikers can celebrate the reopening of the majority of the Trail of Ten Falls.  Just this afternoon, the work on the Canyon Trail loop from South Falls to Winter Falls was completed.  The January 17th snowstorm and the rains and winds that followed it had taken down more than two dozen trees—leaving behind gaping holes in the trail along steep canyon walls.  Trails are repaired, and visitors can now enjoy all but two of Silver Falls’ ten spectacular waterfalls.  (The section of trail that includes Twin Falls and North Falls remains closed due to storm damage.  North Falls, however, can be viewed from a vista point along Highway 214.)

Plant-lovers can celebrate the blooming of the Park’s first wildflower.  The aptly named “Snow Queen” was spotted earlier this week blossoming even as fluffy white flakes fell.  The race to spring is on.  The Pacific Wren has announced it, and what sounds like an Osprey in the South Falls Day Use Area is cheering the Red-flowering Currant on.

Who will be the next wildflower to bloom?  Head up to the park and let us know!

Tracking Nighttime Visitors

Winter is a great time to figure out who is hanging out at the park when no one is looking.  Prints in the mud and snow allow you to identify the creature who made them, and a series of tracks can tell a whole story.  

The tracks below are that of a raccoon, a common nighttime marauder at Silver Falls.  The raccoon’s hind tracks are larger than its front—with five toes on each, they resemble the human hand and foot. 

When walking, the stocky raccoon is a “waddler,” moving the front and hind limbs on one side of the body at the same time.  When moved to pick up the pace (perhaps due to a visit by the evening ranger), a raccoon will start to “gallop,” moving the front feet together and then the hind.

Where was this raccoon headed?  Look closely.  Fortunately, it was foiled by a latch this time around!

 

 

Explore: Nature Writing Lessons for Educators

Want to take your students outdoors and still complete that language arts lesson?  Make a nature journal, grab this guide, and go!

 Included in this handy little booklet are twenty-four activities to help students engage in observation, description, and writing through first-hand interaction with the natural world.  The first section focuses on development of the senses and can be pulled out and used any time of the year.  These activities are appropriate for all ages.  The second section is geared more towards the writing craft and builds upon itself.  These activities are appropriate for later elementary, middle, and secondary students.

 Hopefully, these activities inspire you and your students to take the classroom outside.  Enjoy your time, and don’t forget your rain jacket! 

“Developing Creative Language Skills Through Nature Observation” Activity Book

Winter Storm Damage: Trail of Ten Falls Temporarily CLOSED

Rangers at Silver Falls State Park are working hard to restore trails to safe conditions after last week’s heavy snow and rains.  More than fifteen large trees cross the trail, and fallen limbs litter all 8.5 miles.  A handful of railings and bridges must be repaired, and, in some places, erosion has wiped the trail away completely.

As of Monday, all trails in the park are closed due to hazardous conditions.  Work is beginning in the South Falls area, and the park hopes to open this area by the end of the week.  It might be a couple of months before the entire Trail of Ten Falls loop is reopened.  Check the park’s website for updates:  www.oregonstateparks.org/park_211.php

How Much Water Can Silver Falls’ Waterfalls Fall?

With heavy snow on Monday and Tuesday and then rain throughout the rest of the week, Silver Falls’ waterfalls are booming.  And, due to downed trees, flooding, landslides, and erosion, all trails are currently closed. 

Wondering what the falls look like?  Rangers scouting the trails for hazards snapped these photos of the falls.  See if you can figure out each fall. 

Check the park’s website to confirm your guesses:   www.oregonstateparks.org/park_211.php 

You can also check the park’s website to find out about trail and facility closures.

Expect portions of the Canyon Trail’s “Trail of Ten Falls” to be closed for the next couple of months as crews work to clear debris and rebuild trails and bridges. 

  

The Most Wonderful (and Dangerous) Time of the Year

It has been snowing on and off for days at Silver Falls State Park, transforming the lush temperate rainforest into a precarious winter wonderland.  Tuesday morning, rangers were greeted by 8 to 12 inches of snow in the South Falls area along with a morning power outage and fallen branches and trees littering the roadways.  And the weather showed no signs of letting up, causing trail and road closures throughout the park.

If you choose to venture out to any snow-struck Oregon woods, bear in mind that, like Sirens luring sailors to shipwrecks, winter weather can be as perilous as it can be enchanting–making it the most wonderful (and dangerous) time of the year.

Drivers Take Care: Silver Falls State Park’s roads are above 1000 feet and are not a major thoroughfare.  Rain in the Valley can mean snow at the park.  The road can be 100% snow-covered or ice-covered during a winter storm, making maneuvering corners and negotiating slopes extremely dangerous.  Additionally, heavy snow causes trees and branches to fall, at times blocking roads and taking down power lines.  Chains, traction tires, and/or 4-wheel drive as well as winter driving skills are recommended.

Hikers Be Aware: Temperatures below freezing will cause freezing on the Silver Falls trail network.  Water seeping from the hillsides and mists spraying from waterfalls will freeze and make the trails dangerously slippery.  Passage around or near waterfalls is not recommended during freezing temperatures.  Additionally, heavy snow can cause overhead hazards as snow-laden branches and trees snap under the extra weight and icicles clinging to rocky overhangs let go.

Want to see South Falls without making a risky journey?  Take a look at our webcam!

www.oregonstateparks.org/conditions/silverfalls

List Lovers, Look No Further: Wildlife Species Lists

Here are the most up-to-date wildlife species lists.    Find an error or have an update?  Let us know! 

Mammals of Silver Falls

Birds of Silver Falls State Park

Reptiles & Amphibians of Silver Falls

Invertebrates of Silver Falls, Partial Listing

Interested in completing an invertebrate study?  Let us know!