Friday, October 26, 2012

Long-term plan underway for Camano Island State Park

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission is beginning a process that will lead to a long-term plan for Camano Island State Park. The public is invited to a meeting on Thursday, Nov. 15, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Cama Beach Center, located at Cama Beach State Park, 1880 S.W. Camano Drive, Camano Island.

The meeting is the first step toward a comprehensive plan for the park. The Classification and Management Plan (CAMP) will address overall visitor experiences, natural resources, use of the park’s buildings, recreation areas and trails and other topics of interest to the community. The meetings will address the overall CAMP process and the public’s hopes and concerns for the park. Information about the planning project is available online at Public comment also may be provided by e-mail to or calling (360) 902-8616.

Camano Island State Park became functional in 1949 after the South Camano Grange successfully got the Department of Natural Resources to make property available. Initial improvements for the 134-acre park were provided by 900 volunteers in one day, when they constructed a small picnic area still in existence. Since then, park staff have The park receives approximately 200,000 visitors a year.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Brews on the beach in Pacific City, Oregon

Tsunami Stout, The Mother of All Storms, MacPelicans Wee Heavy Ale ... Who knew tiny Pacific City (aka “middle of nowhere” according to some), Oregon would boast the only coastal brewery in the Northwest? And award-winning beers to boot? 

Located about halfway between Lincoln City and Tillamook, the Pelican Pub & Brewery claims a gorgeous wedge of real estate right on the beach at Cape Kiwanda, a scenic jewel even for this spectacular coastline. The haystack rock rising from the surf is one of two along Oregon’s rocky coast—this one’s the biggest. Think pints and sunsets when you’re planning that late fall or winter camping expedition. And if Mother Nature hasn’t provided enough jaw-dropping beauty in this one teeny tiny corner of North America, just wait till the gray whales cruise across your line of vision in the late spring or late fall migrations (coming up in mid-November). If you happen to be a fisher-person, the Little Nestucca River, which runs into the Big Nestucca River, is famed for its huge Chinook salmon that run in autumn, and an excellent winter run of Steelhead and Cutthroat Trout. 

Put on those fashionable weatherproof layers we Northwesterners are so famous for and fill up the propane tank ... friendly Pacific City and a frosty Stormwatcher’s Winterfest at the Pelican are waiting to warm you up! 

There are numerous places to keep cozy in your RV this season... Click here for a list of parks and RV campgrounds in and near Pacific City:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

All Aboard the Pumpkin Train on the Oregon Coast Scenic Railway

Trade in your RV wheels for a steam locomotive ride along a gorgeous strip of Oregon coastline. Although the tourist season is coming to a close, the Oregon Coast Scenic Railway (OCSR) offers a special autumn weekend, Saturday and Sunday, October 20 & 21.

One hour rides between the historic fishing village of Garibaldi and Rockaway Beach come with scenic views of Tillamook Bay and the Pacific. You can even ride behind the vintage diesel locomotive, which is all decked out for fall. This family-friendly event encourages kids to dress in their Halloween costumes—there are prizes for the best costumes during each of the three daily rides.

The Railway has been operating since 2003, when railway enthusiast Scott Wickert brought his steam locomotive, CLC #2, to Tillamook and founded a steam railroad and logging/antique railroad equipment museum. With community support strongly behind him, the OCSR will celebrate a decade of train rides that have entertained and educated visitors from around the world about the importance of the steam trains that once worked the rails of the western coastline.

Departures from Garibaldi at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. & 3 p.m.
For reservations, go to:
Or call: 503-842-7972

If you’re in the neighborhood and looking for a good place to hookup, the 45-acre Old Mill RV Park is located right on Tillamook Bay.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Experience a tapestry of fall colors at Nez Perce National Historical Park

The Nez Perce National Historical Park is a collection of 38 sites that spread into four states: Washington, Oregon, Montana, and Idaho. Beginning mid-month and continuing through the end of October, autumn leaf colors and golden landscapes are expected to dazzle.

The spectacle drapes the riverbanks and canyons, prairies and mountains, plateaus and plains of the park; two beautiful drives make for a picture-perfect fall foliage RV adventure: the Lewis and Clark Trail and the Nez Perce Trail. The open landscapes of White Bird Battlefield and Spalding (both in Idaho) turn tawny and scarlet, while stands of aspen and cottonwoods, along with the sagebrush steppe of Buffalo Eddy in Washington glitter in golden hues. If you visit this area, don’t miss the amazing petroglyphs.

Unique for its cultural significance the Park offers a multi-layered look at a culture that never arrived from somewhere else ... the Nez Perce have always inhabited this vast swatch of the central Northwest. Be sure to visit the two excellent museums within the Visitor Centers to learn about the traditions and lifestyle of the Nez Perce.

The Park Headquarters and Visitor Centers at both Spalding, ID and Wisdom, MT are open year-round. Click here to plan your visit and check hours.  

While there is no camping within the national park, dozens of campgrounds are located close by in all four states. Click here for camping information

There are no entrance fees to the Historical Park.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Keep camping: It’s “Discovery Season” in Oregon

From now until April 30, 2013, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department invites your inner adventurer to keep on camping with special Discovery Season rates at all State Parks that remain open year-round. Depending on which park you choose to visit, RVers can enjoy full hookups sites for prices as low as $16 a night (the maximum Discovery Season campsite price is $23).

There are obvious advantages to camping in these early fall days ... The weather for one; it can be very mild throughout the state for much of October and into November. In the mountain foothills, autumn colors accent the evergreen. And, where reservations are almost always necessary in the peak summer season, now you can drive around and pick a spot that calls your name. If you’re a weekend camping warrior, you can pack up at a whim and head for your favorite park, pretty confident that there will be open campsites. In winter, camping near the ocean offers the dramatic spectacle of big surf, while mossy forests provide verdant shelter and fragrant campsites.

Click here for a complete list of State Parks and Discovery Season rates.

Move over yurts--camp in a container!

Seems like park operators are always trying something new: First there were cabins, then yurts, the occasional tipi, and now--shipping containers? Sure enough, a county park in Washington State now offers campers the opportunity to overnight in a used cargo container.

Tolt-MacDonald Park near Carnation, Washington recently installed a 24-foot shipping container. Of course, being locked into a dark, steel box doesn't have too much appeal, so the new park rental is equipped with windows, a door, a bunk bed, and a kitchen constructed from recycled materials. Much of the interior stuff can be put outside on a deck so that more inside floor space is available--say you want to have a few friends over for a square dance.

It may sound a bit odd, but King County Parks says it's all in the name of sustainability and a "green" future for parks. For $50 you can stay in this rusty--er--rustic sustainable cabin.

photo: valley record