On Saturday, February 19th, Bruce Newhouse, an ambassador with Friends of Buford Park (FBP), led 13 of us on a tour of the Willamette Confluence Project (WCP). The WCP encompasses 1200 acres and stretches along 6 miles of the Coast and Middle Forks of the Willamette River. It was recently purchased by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) from the Wildish Family which extracted sand and gravel from the area for many years. TNC is in the early stages of developing a 10 year plan for the property, including habitat restoration and compatible recreation. However, FBP has already started removing invasive species such as the thick mounds of blackberries which blanket the oak savannas. Bruce shared his extensive knowledge of the natural and human history of the area with us. We stopped often to watch birds such as the flocks of Ruby Crowned Kinglets and admire the trees such as the groves of cottonwoods and alders along the river. We also learned a lot about the Native Americans and early settlers. Most of us were surprised to learn that there was once a dance hall on the land. It was built to entertain the hops pickers many years ago. A second tour of the WCP is planned for Saturday, February 26th. If you were unable to take one of these tours, you can sign up for a tour with FBP. Just go to www.bufordpark.org and follow the links to the tours. You can also find out more about work parties out to the WCP.Members: Lyn Gilman-Garrick, Colleen Milliman, Sharon Duncan, Jim Duncan, David Becker, Jennifer Baer, Laurie Funkhouser, Darko Sojak, Jim Whitfield, Roberta Chord, Dan Christensen, Jeanne Schmidt. Nonmembers: Carolyn Sojak.
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