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The General Recreation Page will feature activities that everybody enjoys doing in the outdoors of Southern Oregon. That will vary by season. But, we will give you a lot of information on all kinds of ways that you can get out and enjoy the great outdoors in this special part of the world that we live in.




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Oregon's State animal is the Beaver. It is on the state flag on the reverse side of the seal. This makes Oregon the only state with a two sided flag. Beavers are found throughout the state. Here in Southwest Oregon they are common. You can see them if you know where to look. And going out to see beavers or their handiwork as nature's supreme engineers makes for a great outing. Here is more information about them;

American beaver

Scientific name: Castor canadensis

The American Beaver, (the largest rodent in North America), commonly weighs in excess of 55 pounds. The beaver is highly modified for aquatic life with a compact body, paddle shaped tail, webbed hind feet, valves that close their ears and nose while diving, and a rich oil gland that waterproofs their fur. Under water, membranes cover the eyes. 

Claws on the first and second toes are split and function in grooming; the ears and eyes are small; the tail is broad, scaly and nearly without hairs.  The thick underfur is overlain with coarse guard hairs; overall, the pelage (coat) is dark brown dorsally (on its back) shading to a lighter brown ventrally (on its undersides). The tail and feet are blackish brown. There is a single annual molt.

In Oregon, the beaver occurs in suitable habitats throughout the state. It is almost always associated with riparian habitats bordered by a zone of trees, especially cottonwood and aspen, willow, alder and maple. Small streams with a constant flow of water that meander through relatively flat terrain in fertile valleys and are subject to being dammed seem especially productive of beavers. This has lead them to turn up in irrigation canals where they can do considerable damage. 

They are powerful swimmers; propulsion is largely by use of the webbed hind feet and tail as the front feet are held close under the chin. The tail is also used to maneuver in the water. On land, the beaver is a clumsy waddler. Of all the beaver's behavioral characteristics, none is as legendary as its ability to cut trees for food or construction of dams and lodges. Beavers live in colonies composed of family groups usually consisting of a mated pair of adults, their yearlings, and their young-of-the-year, although occasionally groups may contain individuals over 24 months old other than the mated pair. Beavers will have 1 - 4 babies, or kits as they are called each year. Pairing is commonly considered monogamous and long term. In fact, this rodent does indeed typically mate for life.

Beavers are most active in the evening or at night but they can sometimes be observed engaging in various activities at any hour. This is especially true in the gloomy darker days of winter. Beavers do not hibernate. So, you can see them year round in the lower elevations of the counties of Southwestern Oregon. 



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Whale Watching

People come from all over the world to learn about the gray whales that travel along the Oregon coast each year. Whales are visible from Oregon's shores all year long although some months are better than others.

In the Winter we watch nearly 20,000 gray whales from mid-December through mid-January as they travel south to the warm lagoons of Baja Mexico. It's a round trip of more than twelve thousand miles from the Arctic to Baja birthing grounds.The Oregon State Parks Department has a program to help you see the whales and learn more about them. 

The Whale Watching Spoken HereĀ® program places volunteers at great whale watching sites during the two official watch weeks. Our official Whale Watch Weeks typically take place between the Christmas Holiday and New Year's day and during the last week in March. For more than 30 years, trained volunteers have helped visitors watch whales at sites in three states along the Pacific Northwest coast.

We definitely know whale watching. Learn more about whales at the central Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay year round, or at any of our locations during the Whale Watch Weeks for an amazing display of ocean life!

Winter 2018 & Spring 2019 Whale Watch Weeks Announced!

December 27th - December 31st, 2018

March  23rd - March 31st, 2019

Volunteers will be stationed at the 24 designated locations during the above dates from 10AM to 1PM.



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To learn more about the whale watching program and to see the best places to watch for whales, click here. In Southern Oregon, the two top places for watching for whales is at Harris Beach State Park and at Cape Ferrello. With their elevated viewpoints of the water, they offer great opportunities to spot whales. Morning is the best time to see whales from land as the sun really helps you spot spouts as the whales breathe. If you would rather get out on the water with the whales, there are tour operations all up and down the Oregon Coast that will help you do just that. But, remember, ocean conditions can be very rough. Especially in the winter migration. In Brookings our friends at Brookings Saltwater Fishing have been known to schedule whale watching trips based on interest and ocean conditions. If you would be interested, call Andy Martin at 541 - 813 - 1082 or 206 - 388 - 8988.







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Bird Watching

Oregon sits right on the Pacific Flyway, which is like a highway in the sky for migrating birds of all kinds. Birds by the millions are passing through our state right now headed to winter homes in the Southwestern US, Central America, and South America. And these are birds of all sizes. From the tiniest hummingbirds up to geese. Here in Southern Oregon we have major stop over points for waterfowl making their way south. The Klamath Wildlife Refuge system in Klamath County hosts right around one million waterfowl as they make their way south. Additionally, the refuge system provides a resting point for many other kinds of birds. Here is more information.

Upper and Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge

Directions: To reach Upper Klamath NWR, take Oregon Highway 140 west from Klamath Falls 25 miles to Rocky Point Road. Follow signs for 3 miles to Rocky Point Resort. To reach Lower Klamath NWR, drive south from Klamath Falls 19 miles on US Highway 97. At the California border, turn east on California Highway 161. Refuge headquarters is 4 miles south on Hill Road off California 161.

Highlights: Internationally renowned wildlife area on the Pacific flyway. Peak fall migration concentrates over 1 million birds. Important nesting area for American White Pelican, Cinnamon Teal, Northern Shoveler, and Great Egret. More than 1,000 Bald Eagle winter in the area - the largest gathering of Bald Eagles in the lower United States.

For more information: US Fish and Wildlife Service, 530-667-2231. Here are links to direct you to more information about the individual parcels within the larger Klamath National Wildlife Refuge. Tule Lake | Lower Klamath | Clear Lake | Bear Valley


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