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Grant’s Getaways: Northwest Steelheaders

Posted by on Feb 13, 2018 in Visit Tillamook Coast | Comments Off on Grant’s Getaways: Northwest Steelheaders

Tillamook County is blessed with an abundance of rivers that hide secret prizes and angling adventures. Like the silver-sided prizes called winter steelhead that require anglers to endure tough outdoor conditions to catch them.
Yet, steelhead fisherman Mark Anderson told me that he loves this time of year when winter’s cold and wet conditions rule.
“This is the kind of day you like to be on the water: it’s cold but the sun is shining, no rain in sight – wow,” noted the longtime angler.
Anderson said Tillamook county waterways like the Wilson River hold fast water secrets.
The two of us moved along the banks of the small Oregon coast range river – looking for the small pockets of whitewater where Anderson said, “eager biters” like to hold.
“Pocket water is the very head of a river’s run where it riffles before it levels off and smoothes out,” noted the longtime angler.
Anderson likes to cast into a river’s hidden places where water narrows and races so to reach deep holes that hold big fish.
“Fish will tuck in at the head of that hole because it provides cover for them and they feel safe.”
Anderson has learned that it is important to be on the move. He rarely spends more than thirty minutes at each spot because more pocket water steelhead wait around each bend.
“I never really quit steelhead fishing. It’s my year-round passion and I always seem to have a rod that has a jig on it for steelhead in April and May for the winter run – and then the summer runs take over. Oregon is blessed with opportunities and I so love that about my home state.”
At a favorite location, high in the river-shed, Anderson cast across a small pocket of whitewater where he thought a fish might hold. In a matter of seconds, his bobber disappeared.
“There he is!” noted the confidant angler who had experienced this routine many times before.
It was a wild steelhead – about 8 pounds – somewhat dark and sporting the tell-tale crimson bar across the length of its jaw – he quickly landed and released the fish.
He then began casting his jig into the foamy water again and said, “That was great – maybe we’ll get another one!”
That was a promise sure to please the gathering of anglers a few miles downriver at the Smith Family Homestead Wayside along Highway 6.
It’s where a Steelhead Clinic sponsored by the Tualatin Valley Chapter of the NW Steelheaders.
The NW Steelheaders is an Oregon based sport fishing and conservation group.
The organization’s President, Tom VanderPlaat, said their clinics teach newcomers tips, tactics and techniques for catching steelhead.
“Well, you got to start somewhere and so we teach them how to put the gear together,” said VanderPlaat. He added, so we make sure they’re using the right gear; using the right kinds of things that catch steelhead.”
The NW Steelheaders have been doing it right for nearly six decades in 11 chapters across Oregon.
For more than 2,000 members, it’s not just how to catch a fish – but also understand what fish need to thrive.
The NW Steelheaders donate time and raise money to buy expensive aquariums so students can raise eggs to fry in 45 Washington County schools.
We recently joined a group of NW Steelheaders on their so called “delivery day.”
NW Steelheader Leroy Schultz held 500 trout eggs that were donated by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The eggs become fry over the next six weeks.
The “Eggs to Fry” experience is a launching point for important teachable times as the fish become the foundation for writing assignments, science vocabulary, math lessons and even art projects.
“They’re going to be the keepers of our rivers and lakes and we want them to know that they are going to carry that responsibility and carry on for us in the future,” said Schultz.
He added that there are now more than 700 tanks are in Oregon classrooms and each tank serves more than 90 students.
“Those are our future fishermen in those second, third and fourth grade classrooms,” said VanerPlaat. “They’re learning about the life cycle of salmon, steelhead and trout. They get real responsibility to raise those fish.”
Meanwhile, back on the Wilson River, NW Steelheader instructor, Tim Lenihan, offered hands-on lessons to newcomer Marika Synak. I wondered how she was doing?
“Well, she’s never cast with a rod and reel until just now and she’s doing great – awesome actually!”
I asked Marika if she’d ever done anything like this before?
“Oh no, but I want to learn – I want to go catch these big fish that I see in magazines or on-line. This is a great way to start.”
I then wondered aloud, ‘Marika, did you know that they call winter steelhead a fish of a thousand casts?”
“Aahhh, not sure I like that part. But I do like the outdoors and being on the river and maybe I’ll catch one today!”
Marika’s eagerness and enthusiasm was addictive, according to instructor Lenihan. He added that many newcomers fall in love with the Oregon outdoors through the clinics.
“Our idea is to teach them the techniques! If someone catches a fish at one of these events, that’s a big bonus. But that’s not really the goal of getting them out here today. We want to teach the basics and where to cast and how to use the equipment and then motivate them to get out here on their own.”
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Source: Visit Tillamook Coast

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Grant’s Getaways: Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad

Posted by on Feb 13, 2018 in Visit Tillamook Coast | Comments Off on Grant’s Getaways: Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad

In Garibaldi, the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad connects passengers with recreation that reaches back more than a century.
Each morning, Engineer Scott Wickert preps the business end of the OCSR: a Prairie 262 steam engine that roars to life in billowy clouds of steam.
The engine was built in 1925 and it burns recycled motor oil and it is rated to pull 29,000 pounds.
“It’s like a big industrial furnace,” noted Wickert. “The firebox is surrounded by a water jacket and as it boils, the steam rises and moves through super heater units and then down into the cylinders to move the train.”
The railroad takes on passengers at the Garibaldi Depot each day for a 90-minute round trip ride along the coast.
The steam engine pulls three passenger cars (plus the caboose) and that’s where you’ll find OCSR Conductor Tim Thompson. He is usually busy checking passengers and punching their tickets, and he’s been at it since 2003 when the OCSR began operation in Tillamook County. The first railroad arrived in Tillamook County from the Willamette Valley in 1912. It primarily hauled timber but it also brought Portland-area passengers to the beach.
Tourists quickly fell in love with the sun, the surf and the chance to get away from it all, according to local historian Don Best.
“There were no roads here, nothing but trails in this area,” said Best, a longtime resident whose grandfather arrived in Tillamook County in 1910. “You had to go by wagon up the beach line at low tide to get into this area back then. The train changed everything.”
Best added that a century ago, the railroad was the only way to reach Tillamook County’s gorgeous sandy beaches and access was convenient. “You could get on the train at 9:30 in Portland and be walking on Rockaway Beach at 2:30 in the afternoon. It was the most accessible beach on the Oregon Coast.”
People came by thousands and vacation developments were ready to meet them, boasting familiar sounding names like Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach, Saltair and Rockaway Beach. Unlike modern vacations that are measured by a few days of getting away from it all, a century ago most families would travel to Rockaway Beach and stay all summer.
There weren’t many houses in those early days, but camps with wooden tent frames that were lined up next to each other. People bought or brought canvas tents and set up their summer camp. Eventually lots were created and vacation cabins were built.
These days, the OCSR runs three or four times a day along a three-mile stretch of track from Garibaldi to Rockaway Beach; at 10 mph, it is a pleasant cruise.
Visitor Ahne Oosterhof enjoyed the ride for its unique perspective. “It is a fun way to see things that you miss from the highway. It’s not very fast, but that’s kind of nice because it gives me more time to look around.”
Train conductor Thompson agreed and offered, “On a hot summer weekend in Portland, we are packed! Folks love the open cars with sunshine and cool breezes, while others choose to sit inside our fully restored Wilson River car and reflect on the history of the railroad. It’s a lot of fun for folks who’ve never experienced an old-fashioned train ride and want to connect with Oregon’s past.”
The post Grant’s Getaways: Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad appeared first on Tillamook Coast.
Source: Visit Tillamook Coast

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Grant’s Getaways: Sitka Sedge State Natural Area

Posted by on Feb 13, 2018 in Visit Tillamook Coast | Comments Off on Grant’s Getaways: Sitka Sedge State Natural Area

It is hard to argue with Oregon State Parks Manager Kirk Barham’s decree that he has “the best office in the world.”
His “office” is called Sitka Sedge State Natural Area and it is Oregon’s newest state park. Prized for its lack of development, Sitka Sedge is just south of Sandlake in Tillamook County. “The fact that you can come out on a day as nice as like today and maybe have the park all to yourself and maybe experience some of the great stuff that the coast has to offer all in one place,” said Barham.
The main trail leading through the new park is where you will find blooming foxglove and salal and wild rose – the beauty of each will leave you spellbound. So will the abundant bird life – like the blue herons that hunt across the namesake Sitka Sedge grasses that grow along the wetland edges.
The new park includes four-and-a-half miles of trails across nearly 400 acres of fresh and saltwater marshes – plus, forested uplands – it is a place where the quiet seems to shout at you.
“Yeah, that’s true,” noted the longtime park ranger. “Except for the chirping birds and the ocean roar.”
Soon you reach the magnificent ocean front that Barham said will remain “undisturbed.” The view is grand! Cape Kiwanda is easy to spy to the south, while Cape Lookout juts into the ocean to the north.
While in between the two landmarks, the new Sitka Sedge merges with another well-known state natural area called Clay Myers at Whalen Island.
Here, there are 200 acres of forest, sand and estuary – and even more hiking trails. The waterway surrounding Whalen Island is called Sandlake and it is shallow throughout; it averages just two feet deep at flood tide.
The estuary wraps around the island on the high tide and that is the time you will find paddlers like Marc Hinz launching kayak excursions to explore the parkland.
“I like to bring folks here to enjoy the quiet, serene and secluded nature of the waterway,” said Hinz.
Marc Hinz is a co-owner of Kayak Tillamook and he leads tours for a company that specializes in coastal estuary trips: “You don’t see many people here because it’s too shallow for motorized boats.”
Hinz added that Sandlake’s isolation means paddlers should be prepared to handle any issue that might arise on the water:
“Even though it is a shallow waterway, there are deeper parts and the tide does recede out into the ocean. So it’s important to wear your PFD, bring an extra paddle, basic first aid and a communication device in case you get into trouble.”
Meanwhile, back at Sitka Sedge, Barham says no camping will be allowed and it will always be a low impact park where nature’s touch restores the soul.
“This is such a quiet, beautiful place that we want to make sure it’s there for not only present generations but for our future generations to enjoy.”
The post Grant’s Getaways: Sitka Sedge State Natural Area appeared first on Tillamook Coast.
Source: Visit Tillamook Coast

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Grant’s Getaways: Dairyland Eco Tour

Posted by on Feb 13, 2018 in Visit Tillamook Coast | Comments Off on Grant’s Getaways: Dairyland Eco Tour


Tillamook County has been coined the “Land of Cheese, Trees and Ocean Breeze,” where recreation is found at every turn of the trail.
Perhaps on an estuary in a kayak with a paddle, or across a clam bed with a rake and shovel or aboard a fishing boat with a rod, reel and a chance to catch gleaming salmon. One thing is certain, there’s no shortage of fun in the sun across Tillamook County.
But local Brian Cameron, the owner and lead guide for Tillamook Eco Adventures, wants his guests to experience even more.
While Cameron shows off the gorgeous coastal scenery, varied adventure trips including waterfall hikes and paddle trips, it is the theme of the farming way of life that resonates most with his guests.
Cameron said the Dairyland Tour is the most popular request by far!
“Even though I didn’t grow up on a dairy farm, I grew up around dairy farmers,” said Cameron. “I started asking around and thankfully there were dairy farmers nice enough to let us come down for a visit. It is working into a pretty good relationship.”
At Wilson View Dairy, Cameron’s guests – the Coulson family – are introduced to Derrick Josi, a fifth-generation dairy farmer, who is as proud of his heritage as he is of his Jersey cow herd – all five hundred of them!
“This is what we call a free-stall barn,” explained Josi to his audience of kids and adults alike. “They can come and go as they please and each has their own stall to lie down in.” Josi said each Jersey cow will produce 8 gallons of milk product a day.
Cameron added that in Oregon, Agri-Tourism is growing stronger each year because people want to see where their food comes from.
In the milking parlor, Desi Josi (Derrick’s Mom) said that she enjoys having guests on the farm so they can see – even touch – the cows and more importantly, appreciate how the family’s time and energy provides a healthy product and a family lifestyle:
“I think it is very important that we reach all of the people who buy our product! It is hard work and it is all-the-time-work and we invite people to come share – even for a couple of hours – our lifestyle.”
Parents Shad and Casey Coulson agreed that the Dairyland Tour was a rewarding experience, especially for their kids:
“The passion of just being outside and enjoying farm life is something we can identify with,’ noted father, Shad Coulson. ”My wife, Casey and I come from that background, but not our kids, so this is a good opportunity to see what the dairy life is like.”
“Tillamook County itself is synonymous with food whether it be dairy products or shellfish or salmon, Said Cameron. If visitors are here for a couple of days and decide to explore with us, they will understand and appreciate all that the county has to offer.”
The post Grant’s Getaways: Dairyland Eco Tour appeared first on Tillamook Coast.
Source: Visit Tillamook Coast

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Grant’s Getaways: Oregon Coast Railriders

Posted by on Feb 13, 2018 in Visit Tillamook Coast | Comments Off on Grant’s Getaways: Oregon Coast Railriders

This week, we explore a corner of the state whose prime time has arrived for scenic adventure that you must pedal to enjoy.
But this is no ordinary cycling adventure – rather, it’s a new form of railroading that will get your heart rate going and leave you with mile wide smiles when you join the Oregon Coast Rail Riders.
Nate Bell says if you can sit, you can join the Rail Riders. Bell is the lead guide for a new way to see Tillamook County. Oregon Coast Rail Riders offers a two-hour round trip that begins in Bay City and stretches south on unused railroad track in Tillamook County.
The 12-mile trip is the brainchild of Kim Metlen – an Oregon entrepreneur we met last summer in Joseph, Oregon where his rail rider trip between Joseph and Enterprise has proven popular and an absolute blast for locals and visitors alike.
Metlen, a former cycling store owner, designed the cars (or are they bikes?) three years ago. He launched the rail riding business that shows off the countryside on a 12-mile stretch from Joseph to Enterprise.
He says, the word spread like wildfire and folks in Tillamook made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“It’s actually an in service line that is not used for commerce anymore. The best part is that you get away from everybody else and it’s so gorgeous. We ride past Tillamook Bay and cross the Wilson and Kilchis Rivers.”
There are five road crossings that require Nate Bell to raise a traffic stop sign and then move the riders along safely.
The slow poke pace is perfect for sight-seeing a coastal countryside that folks who travel nearby Coastal Highway 101 miss.
“It’s beautiful – it’s gorgeous,” exclaimed first time rail rider, Rachael Yingst. ”I love it – there’s a bit of exercise but it’s not hard to peddle at all.”
An hour into the southbound ride, it’s time to turn around – the all-aluminum frames and polyurethane wheels weigh a mere one hundred pounds.
It’s the sort of ride that puts a smile on your face, and sort of setting that keeps it there all day. It’s a rail ride unlike any train you’ve ever traveled and a fine way to explore new country.

The post Grant’s Getaways: Oregon Coast Railriders appeared first on Tillamook Coast.
Source: Visit Tillamook Coast

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Grant’s Getaways: Kilchis Point Reserve

Posted by on Feb 13, 2018 in Visit Tillamook Coast | Comments Off on Grant’s Getaways: Kilchis Point Reserve

If you know where to look, there are some chapters of Oregon history that come to life in the great outdoors. In Tillamook County, you can discover much about Native American heritage along a trail built by a community that holds on to their history.
Kilchis Point Reserve is about as “grass roots” as it gets, and Gary Albright’s small army of volunteers have built miles of trails to prove it.
“Ah, this place is so wonderful,” said Albright, the Director of the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum and leader of the effort to restore the unique 200 acre site. “We will have a couple dry days and then get a wet day and the flora and fauna take on a whole new look. When visitors walk the trail it just takes their breaths away. We have visitors who never get outdoors and just get teary-eyed from the beauty of this place.”
It’s unlike any trail you’ve ever traveled – with old growth spruce trees and tidal churned creeks and lush wetlands always by your side. With imagination, a hike along the Kilchis Point Trail also touches Oregon’s distant past.
Kilchis Point Reserve is the namesake for a community-based restoration project that began in 2011. The site encompasses 200 acres of county-owned forest and wetland property that hugs the eastern shore of Tillamook Bay near Bay City.
200 years ago it was the hub of a Salish Indian culture that may have arrived a thousand years earlier.
Albright said the view to the place would have been much different back then: “You would see long cedar buildings – 20 by 60 feet – and then smaller buildings scattered around the site. The nearby streams would be clogged with salmon and there would be waterfowl and shellfish available too. You would not walk more than a hundred yards to find food. Plus, it never froze and it never got too hot. I think it would have been a magical land.”
You can better understand and appreciate this piece of Oregon paradise and learn more about the people who inhabited it when you step inside the newly remodeled Tillamook County Pioneer Museum. There are many ancient artifacts on display, and Albright boasts that there are more than 50,000 artifacts in the museum’s care.
He said the collection is constantly growing, too. “Every single day, someone comes in with a donation that has been in the family for decades; something they found on the site but now want it to be cared for by us.”
Albright can also explain how it was that a society of people – numbering in the thousands for hundreds and hundreds of years – seemingly disappeared overnight: “Between 1805 and 1851, the number of Salish people went 2200 to about 400 but they weren’t losing people in wars. They weren’t even fighting with the white settlers…it wasn’t conflict, it was disease! The people were decimated by European diseases.”
Back out on the 2 mile-long Kilchis Point Trail, Albright explained that the Museum and the Reserve go hand in hand as learning experiences that he hopes more people will try. “We tell the story there and then we bring it forward here and hope people come and enjoy both the indoor and outdoor wonder.”
Visitors Cindy Grimmett and Donna Houston said they were amazed by the “wonder of it all.” “You’d think you’ve died and gone to heaven,” noted Grimmett. “This is gorgeous and totally natural and fantastic and you might see a bald eagle.”
In fact, chances are you will see many eagles on a day that is too nice to stay indoors. Chances are you will also be struck by the silence of the place – the quiet can seem deafening and yet the trail is only a stone’s throw from the small burg of Bay City.
“I come here and all my troubles melt away,” said Albright, who admits that he is an unabashed fan and enthusiastic leader of the grandest natural area in Tillamook County. ”When you consider the human activity that occurred here for countless generations, this place is hallowed ground. I feel honored to be taking care of it and protecting it for future generations.”
The remarkable volunteer effort to restore and enhance Kilchis Point Reserve never ends, and Albright is always on the lookout for new volunteers who wish to take care of the site. In fact, a new bird-watching blind is in the works and eventually a Native American cedar long house will be built on the reserve to help tell the story of the native peoples who lived there.

The post Grant’s Getaways: Kilchis Point Reserve appeared first on Tillamook Coast.
Source: Visit Tillamook Coast

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