River Guardians Revealed

8 02 2018

Article by Michelle Emmons from The Willamette Riverkeeper’s Newsletter.

Fall/Winter 2017

The River House teams up with Willamette Riverkeeper each year to provide equipment and guides for the annual Great Willamette River Clean-up.  This is an over 200 mile effort to clean the banks of the Willamette River.  The Riverkeepers also have ongoing clean-up days the second Tuesday of each month.  For more info:  willamette-riverkeeper.org


Source for this lovely photo and article found here

Marcel Bieg, a professional swift water rescue instructor, and west coast representative for the American Canoe Association, believes his volunteer support in the River Guardians program is an integral component of his personal purpose to support a much larger system of life. Marcel’s philosophy? “I have always considered the earth as a single living organism; with all things playing a role for a healthy planet. The oceans are our lungs and the rivers are the arteries, I feel strongly we need to keep our arteries clean and healthy, and this is one way I can contribute to that cause.  Aside from the wonderful efforts of our volunteers, program partners such as Eugene Water & Electric Board, University of Oregon, Union Pacific Railroad, Northwest Canoe Tours and City of Eugene Parks and Recreation departments have provided additional funding and support for staffing, monitoring tools, equipment and disposal services.  Eugene-Springfield River Guardian cleanups happen year round, with opportunities for you to participate every second Tuesday of the month. Timing and sections may change depending on leadership availability, and where there is the greatest need. To find out how you can get involved as a volunteer or a program partner, please email our South Valley Advocate, Michelle Emmons at michelle@willametteriverkeeper.org.

For more information, click here

Source and credit for original photo and article is at https://www.scribd.com/document/367127763/WRWinter2017-18Newsletter

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Ideas to Survive an Extended Shoulder Season.

8 01 2018

Many parts of the country may never experience a shoulder season for outdoor activities.  In western Oregon the shoulder season phenomena usually occurs in spring and fall as trails get too wet to ride, snow is too shallow to ski, rocks are too wet to climb and conditions are overall more challenging to deal with.  Normally by early January we are out of the shoulder season and full swing into winter activities, but this year that’s not the case.  The snow is refusing to fall!

There is an upside to shoulder seasons as most people are driven inside by the conditions and stay home.  Finding a partner to join in your adventure may be more difficult, but if you are seeking solitude this can be a great time to find it.  Gear to stay relatively comfortable and multiple activity options to match current conditions can allow you to remain outside playing all year long.

Kayaking and canoeing is the classic in-between season activity.  Whether whitewater or flat, paddlesports require water and water is often in high supply as it falls in autumn and snow melts in the spring.  With the correct gear, kayaking can keep the active outdoors person sane during rainy shoulder seasons that make many other activities not possible.


Traveling a short distance can show a significant difference in weather.  In western Oregon a short drive to the coast may bring warmer weather and no rain.  It can also bring large storms and wind so check the weather throughout the week to see changes in the forecast.  The shoulder season is a perfect time to visit the sand dunes if you have never been there.  Unlike in summer, crowds are few and noise is minimal.  A clear evening spent on the expansive dunes is similar to clear evenings on snowy slopes and it’s way easier to cook fresh oysters over a fire.  Florence and Winchester Bay dunes both offer camping on the dunes for $10.  Make sure to research the rules and regulations before heading out. Dunes Rec Guide

sand 1

Bike touring is a great activity that can take advantage of short two day breaks in weather.  The adventure starts directly from your doorstep and in many areas, 35 miles outside of town is all that’s needed for a great destination.  Depart Saturday at noon and return Sunday at noon with plenty of opportunity for stories in between.  Beware that winter clothing and sleeping bags take up much more space in your packs than traditional summer touring gear.


If you still can’t find the motivation to get out, use the time to check over your gear and fix the needs that are neglected during the prime season.  Explore maps and plan your next adventure or watch countless online videos that might help spark your next mission idea.

However you do it, don’t let this extended shoulder season get you down.  Try new things that fit the conditions, search out new places and find yourself alone in the great outdoors.

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Winter Projects: Organize it!

19 12 2017

As we approach the winter equinox, we have less daylight each and colder temperatures. Sometimes it feels like bedtime because it has been dark for hours, but you look at the clock and it’s only 7:30! Winter is not just the time to binge on Netflix. There are tons of little things you can do around the house that you would never have time for in the summer.

Take for example, your kitchen cabinets. If you have to shove a bunch of stuff around to find what you’re looking for, chances are your cabinets could use a little organizing. My favorite cabinets to organize are spice cupboards and tea collections. Here’s a photo of a spice cupboard I recently organized for a friend:

spice cab before


spice cab after



Remember to just do one project at a time and take a “before” picture so you can see your results.

Here’s how you can start organizing:

  1. Pull everything out of the cabinet. As you pull things out, get rid of anything that is really old. Combine same items, and take a mental note of categories such as “baking” “spices” “herbs” “use often” “use rarely” etc. Wipe down anything that has spilled.
  2. Measure the interior space, and begin to image how you would like it to look. Tiered shelves, rotating shelf, or other organizational method. Come up with plan. This might include moving some of your categories to a different shelf.
  3. Now it’s time to build or shop for your organizers! Many people are tempted to do this step first, but it’s important to do steps one and two so you know what to look for! For my friend’s cabinet, a spinning shelf wouldn’t fit, so I purchased a 3-tier spice shelf, a few nice looking spice bottles, and some gold washi tape. I love building custom stuff so it fits the space perfectly, but I didn’t have time on this one.
  4. Now the fun part. You get to put it all back together. Make sure that everything that is used often is easy to get to. Items used less often can be farther towards the back. Everything should be labeled too.

The key to keeping things organized is that it should be easy to retrieve and replace items. If you have to move a bunch of things to get the the one you want, everything will get jumbled again right away. Save time in the long run by having a good organizational plan from the start.

Good luck! And remember, always ask permission before organizing shared space or something that isn’t yours! My friend jumped for joy when she saw her new spice cabinet. She can’t wait to start cooking with her easy-to-find spices!

Written by Misha Fuller



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Thurston Hills Mountain Bike Trails to Open Spring 2018

15 12 2017

Trail Work Day, November 18, 2017

Willamalane Park and Recreation District and Disciples of Dirt partner for trailwork day at Thurston Hills Natural Area.

Springfield’s first mountain-bike-specific trails are set to open in Spring of 2018. The project is well underway, with the trailhead area complete, including a paved parking lot, bathrooms, and a bike wash station! The North Access Trail, two miles of compacted graveled trail, is now open for hikers. Downhill mountain biking is not allowed on this trail, so mountain bikers are discouraged from riding the trails until the downhill sections are complete in the spring. IMG-2348

On November 18, 2017 Willamalane staff directed over 60 volunteers at the first official volunteer trail work day at the Thurston Hills. Disciples of Dirt, the local Eugene-Springfield area mountain bike club, was joined by members of neighboring mountain bike clubs Salem Area Trail Alliance and Team Dirt. The trails are to be machine built by a professional contractor, but volunteers were able to clear trees and brush from the areas marked for trail. Disciples of Dirt has pledged 1500 hours of volunteer work and $13,000 cash to the over $200,000 project.  This is just the first of several phases of trail design and construction in the Thurston Hills area.

Community support for this trail development has been overwhelming. “We’re excited to hopefully take our youth mountain bike summer camps up there. It will be great to have something so close to town,” states Zane Wheeler, Program Coordinator for  River House mountain bike summer camps.

A grand opening event is being planned for February 3.

A map of the area and additional information is available at the  Willamalane website.

Get involved with local trail building efforts with the Disciples of Dirt!

Written by Misha Fuller

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14 12 2017


It is a proven fact that campfire food is pretty much the best food on the planet. Even though I’m not into roughing it anymore (glamping is more my style) I still love to sit around a fire pit and indulge in some good old fashioned campfire food.  A long time ago before I had a mess of kids, I used to go camping with my friends as often as I could. We would load up the trucks, pack all the supplies and rough it for a weekend. The best part was sitting around the campfire and roasting marshmallows, hotdogs and these easy and delicious Campfire Cinnamon Roll-ups.

These sweets treats are made with just 3 easy to pack ingredients and only take about five minutes to cook over an open flame. These make a fabulous camping breakfast, especially combined with some campfire scrambled eggs and orange juice. Seriously, yum! Doesn’t that sound amazing?!


  • 1 package crescent rolls
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • Wooden Skewers


  1. Combine cinnamon and sugar in small bowl
  2. Separate crescent rolls and wrap them around the skewer
  3. Roll it in the cinnamon sugar mixture
  4. Cook over campfire for 5 minutes, rotating frequently
  5. Optional – Mix 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 2-3 tbsp water together to make a glaze and drizzle over cooked roll-up


Author: Jordyn

Source: http://www.almostsupermom.com/2015/07/campfire-cinnamon-roll-ups.html

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Deception Pass Dash, Dec. 2, 2017

27 10 2017

A curious boat race involving sea kayaks, SUPs, outriggers, rowers, and surfskis in spicy open-water conditions at Deception Pass State Park in northwest Washington.

Starting and finishing at Bowman Bay, the course is a six mile loop out and around Deception Island, then east past Pass Island and around Strawberry Island, then back west past Pass Island and Deception Island a second time and back to Bowman Bay.

Registration for this unique event is open for both participants and volunteers at:

Image result for deception pass dash photos

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‘As long as you have two hands and you can see, you’re pretty much ready to sail’

12 09 2017

EUGENE, Ore. – A heat wave in the Willamette Valley means excellent weather for sailing at Fern Ridge Reservoir in Eugene.

About a dozen students completed their week-long youth training course Friday afternoon.


The classes are offered by the City of Eugene’s River House Center every summer.

“They can steer a boat, they can trim a sail, they can dock and undock. They know how to beach a boat,” said instructor Connor Shirk.

The classes are not just offered for middle and high school students. Adults are also encouraged to participate with weeknight and weekend classes.

“The main difference is that the adult classes all take place on the big boats,” said Shirk.


Youth courses start on smaller boats, referred to as dinghies. The skills are easily transferable to larger boats.

“The worst thing that can happen in the small boats is that they flip. But, then you flip them right back up. Adults don’t like that quite as much,” added Shirk.

They leave daily from the River house at 9 a.m. and return at 4:30 p.m.

Participants say the best part is that anyone can join.

“In things like gymnastics, it’s hard to do if you’re not flexible or if you don’t know certain things. With boats, as long as you have two hands and you can see, you’re pretty much ready to sail,” said Nina Persins.

The youth camp continues for one more week, with a cost of $265.

There are scholarships available to help bring the cost down.

The adult classes continue until October.

For more information, click here.

Original article and video can be found at: http://nbc16.com/news/local/as-long-as-you-have-two-hands-and-you-can-see-youre-pretty-much-ready-to-sail

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