Corvallis area offers various outdoor recreation sites

Fall foliage surrounding the Cronemiller Lake, located within Peavy Arboretum and the McDonald Forest. Oregon State University’s Logging Sports Team practices at an outdoor facility adjacent to Cronemiller and uses the lake for birling, or log rolling.

Melinda Myers, News Contributor

Opportunities for nature exploring, physical activities emanate through local wildlife

Surrounded by mountains and forests alike, the Corvallis landscape offers much to explore.

Families can sign on with the Adventure Leadership Institute, explore the Oregon State University Peavy Arboretum and other Research Forests or hike Marys peak for Fall Family Weekend. There are activities for all ages, experience levels and interests. Some recreational events are being put on by the ALI, which is housed out of Dixon and is run by OSU students and staff.

According to Alyssa Lillybridge, a desk staff student worker at the ALI, the ALI’s adventure club program is offering two events for Fall Family Weekend.

“First, we are offering two events through the Adventure Leadership Institute’s Adventure Club program,” Alyssa Lillybridge said via email.

“Fall Family Rafting is a popular activity that OSU students often bring their families on,” Lillybridge said via email. “The rafting trip will be going to the North Santiam River on Saturday, Nov. 18.”

Participants will meet at the ALI at 8 a.m. and return at approximately 5 p.m. No previous experience is necessary and equipment is provided in the cost of the trip, which is $80 per person, according to Lillybridge.

In addition, the ALI is offering the opportunity to participate in the Challenge Course, according to Lillybridge. Participation cost is $20.

“The second activity is Fall Family Weekend at the Challenge Course, a program involving a series of low and high course elements at our Challenge Course facility,” Lillybridge said in an email. “It is also occurring on Saturday, Nov. 18, from 9 a.m. to noon.”

The OSU Forestry department also offers accessibility to the research forests, which are located off campus, according to Lillybridge.

“Local hikes include locations like Chip Ross Park (also referred to as Dimple Hill), the McDonald-Dunn Forest, Peavy Arboretum and Bald Hill,” Lillybridge said via email.

Furthermore, the Corvallis area offers several hiking destinations further from the OSU campus, according to Lillybridge. Such locations include Alsea Falls, Finley Wildlife Refuge and Marys Peak.

According to Lisa Romano, Marys Peak public affairs officer, Marys peak is scored with multiple trails of varying difficulty levels. Marys Peak has two hiking trails that lead up and around the summit.

“One thing I like about the upper section (of Marys Peak) is that you get these huge sweeping views of the Willamette Valley and the Cascade Range, and you can see the ocean on a clear day. It’s really fantastic,” Romano said. “And in the lower section, if you follow the parking lot into the woods, it pops you out into a meadow. And it’s quite serene.”

Due to elevation, the weather at the top of Marys peak could be questionable, especially at this time of year, according to Romano.

“Weather can be completely different up there from down here. It can be raining down here but completely sunny up there. So my advice is to be prepared,” Romano said. “A lucky person will catch one of these days where we’re all fogged in and cold and miserable and up there the sun is shining down on the fog and the clouds. It’s a really neat view.”

According to Romano, the elevation change is enough that Marys peak is already seeing its first signs of snow.

“People were reporting they could see snow on Marys peak. It’s a really neat place to be in the snow,” Romano said. “People ski and cross country ski, they snowboard, ssnowshoe.”

Romano warns, however, that the road leading up to the peak is not maintained during the winter months.

“We see many cars in ditches and on the side of the road,” Romano said.

Throughout the year, the Marys peak staff work to manage a sustainable recreational, wildlife and timber facility.

The McDonald-Dunn Forest is a part of the OSU research forests project, according to the Research Forest Webpage.

According to Ryan Brown, the recreation and engagement programs manager for the college forests, OSU research forests are fully-developed and functional systems that the community can search and explore. Within the research forests sits Peavy Arboretum, a recreational site that allows visitors to view nature.

“It’s a little more accessible, we have signs on the local flora, there are picnic tables,” Brown said.

Brown’s favorite trail is the Old Growth Trail, which is accessible by the Lewisburg Saddle entrance. According to Brown, the trail would be ranked at a moderate difficulty and has a decent amount of climbing.

“Another trail that is popular in the community is the Homestead trail,” Brown said. “However, it does get busy on the weekends.”

According to Brown, the Arboretum is a popular location for runners and bikers alike.

“We do have running trails, and ultramarathoners like to come out here,” Brown said. “Mountain biking is getting more and more popular.”

Safety is a principal concern when packing into the OSU forests and Arboretum, according to Brown.

“Look up the ‘10 essential items’ to take with you while hiking, like a compass. Let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll be back,” Brown said. “It’s also good to go with a buddy.”

Along with this, Brown emphasizes preparedness for the trail.

“Plan out your trip, there are maps at the trail head. Get an idea of where you’re going,” Brown said. “Dress appropriately for weather.”

There are multiple benefits to recreating in the outdoors, according to Brown.

“Recreating outside has multiple mental and physical benefits,” Brown said. “I just want to let students know this is a resource for them. It’s there, it’s a student service.”

According to Brown, managing the programs and engagements of the forest is a perk of the job.

“The forest is a treasure to the community. I feel very lucky to take care of this gem in a way that makes it so people can enjoy,” Brown said.