Willamette Valley – Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge (#3)

Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge
March 20, 2010
 Info: (taken from the US Fish and Wildlife website http://www.fws.gov/WillametteValley/baskett/): Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge is located in the fertile Willamette Valley of northwestern Oregon . The Refuge is situated in open farmland near the eastern foothills of the Coast Range , with the broad Willamette Valley and the Cascade Mountains to the east. Elevations range from 185 to 414 feet msl. The Willamette Valley , with its mild, rainy winter climate, is an ideal environment for wintering waterfowl. The Refuge consists of 1,173 acres of cropland, which provide forage for wintering geese, 300 acres of forests, 550 acres of grasslands, 500 acres of shallow water seasonal wetlands and 35 acres of permanent open water. As with the other refuges within the Willamette Valley National Wildlife Complex, the primary management goal of Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge is to provide high quality wintering habitat for geese, especially the dusky Canada goose, to ensure healthy, viable goose populations while minimizing goose browse damage to crops on private agricultural lands.
The Baskett Slough NWR also provides habitat for a wide variety of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Populations of several endangered and threatened animal and plant species can be found on the refuge. Wildlife/wildlands observation, photography, hiking, and environmental education and interpretation are the major public use activities allowed on the Refuge.
Directions: (taken from my book: Oregon Hiking) From Salem, follow Highway 22 to Rickreall, turn north on US 99 West for 1.8 miles, and turn left on gravel Colville Road 1.4 miles to the trailhead lot on the right.
Jenn’s View: Great easy hike for the family and great views of the refuge. Tons of birds but need binoculars to see anything. I think the best part of this hike was that a winery was very close by ;)The beginning of my hiking adventures. I was just getting over the flu/cold, so an easy hike was in order. My girlfriend, Terri Jacobe, came along and had a blast. Most of the trails were closed and wouldn’t re-open until April. The trail to the view of the Baskett Slough was open, so that’s the one that we did.

The trail was a steady climb up but not at all difficult. You get great views of the Willamette Valley and the coast range when you hit the top. The loop is approximately 1.5 miles. Go straight on the wide grassy path for 0.5 mile and then left at the junction up grass-topped Baskett Butte for the view. (quote from my book) If the refuge is open, you can continue straight into the refuge through a white oak forest another 0.4 mile to a junction and an old barn colonized by darting swallows. Going right takes you to the shores of Morgan Lake, a 1.4 mile walk to a gate, where you can return via an old road for another mile back to the barn, passing a small pond of cattails and the nutria.

When we got to the top, Terri and I thought we saw what looked like vineyards….OOOHHHH, you should have seen the look on my face! I think I had a big fat grin on my face! We completed the walk on the trail.

Found a hollow tree and Terri dared me to go in. I’m not dumb, I know there are tons of bugs in there..so she did it! Gotta love her!

Terri Jacobe being all silly

We hurried back down the trail to get back to my car so we can hunt for the winery. 🙂

Can you see the little ground squirrel? Well I think it’s a squirrel. He blends in pretty well in the grass

Well, I do recommend this hike for families. Wait for a nice clear day to see the Willamette Valley and the Coastal Range. Don’t do the hike in the rain because it gets pretty muddy and “sloushy” in some areas. The best part – go visit the winery! Sit on the porch and enjoy the views! I believe this was at Van Duzen Vineyard. What a great way to end the day though! I did end up buying a couple bottles of wine!

Terri Jacobe and I doing a little bit of wine tasting.
Around the corner was a sitting area.
The main goal of the picture was to show how pretty their tasting room is. NOT the big butt that dominates this picture.
I did end up picking up wine!

Since we were in a wine tasting mood, we hit another vineyard in West Salem area called Orchard Heights Winery. I love living around this area because of all the numerous vineyards that surrounds here! I haven’t hit them all, but one of these days, I will!

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