Cape Arago, Shore Acres

Thursday, August 11, 2011
Leader: Mary Ellen West

Mary Ellen West and Verna Kocken were the leaders of this trip. August 11 was a warm, sunny day for the Obsidian bus trip to the South Coast. Twenty Seven members and guests visited the South Slough Reserve, Shore Acres, and the overview at Simpson Reef. The South Slough was substituted for the Marine Biology Facility. The UO Charleston Marine Life Center will be open in the Summer of 2012, so the trip will be rescheduled.

Don Baldwin shared stories of Ewart Baldwin's life in the Coos Bay area. The family stories were a nice remembrance for a long time Obsidian.

The South Slough was established in 1974, the first member of the National Estuarine Research Reserve system, now 28 reserves nationally. They were established to improve understanding of esturaries and coastal wetlands. The South Slough is a narrow branch of Coos Bay south of Charleston. The reserve covers 5,000 acres of mudflats, salt and fresh water marshes and upland along the Slough. It has trails, viewing platforms and a wonderful interpretive center/staff to educate the public about the value of preserving wetlands. Research is ongoing. The Slough staff were informative, the video was excellent, and the bus/walk to the wetlands added to understanding the value of preserving wetlands. The Shore Acres State Park gardens were magnificent. Roses and dahlias were the features of the well maintained garden, once part of the estate of lumberman, Louis Simpson.

The last stop was at the Simpson Reef overlook, where sea lions, harbor seals and a few young whales were visible. This area is part of Cape Arago State Park. The offshore island, rocks and reef are part of the Oregon Island National Wildlife Refuge. Rick Ahrens, Obsidian bus naturalist, set up his scope for viewing the offshore animals. His commentary during the day added much to the trip.

Enjoying the trip were members:

Members: Mary Ellen West, Verna Kocken, Thomas Adamcyk, Rick Ahrens, Alice Anderson, Bill Arthur, Don Baldwin, Louise Behnke, Mary Lee Cheadle, Sharon Cutsforth, Barbara Flanders, Dennis Flanders, Jeannette Forsman, Donna Halker, Natalie Newlove, Don Payne, Virginia Prouty, Liz Reanier, Julie Snell, Richard Speelman, Janet Speelman, Cristy White. Nonmembers: Judy Adamcyk, Tina Behnke, Linn Crooks, Pat McCormick, Jean Reimer.

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