North Coast Land Conservancy welcomed supporters to Circle Creek for the annual Barn Picnic.
After a two-year hiatus, the annual Barn Picnic made its return for 2022 on June 22. North Coast Land Conservancy staff enjoyed gathering with board members, volunteers, and other supporters at Circle Creek Conservation Center, located just south of Seaside off Rippet Road.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a summer picnic on the coast without a bit of fickle weather—or in this case, an overcast sky and even a flash of misty rain that eventually broke into sunshine later in the afternoon. Yet picnic-goers bundled up in blankets and sweaters to revel in being out on the land at Circle Creek while sharing picnic lunches and good conversation with one another.
Board president John Mersereau plays guitar and sings with his daughter, Ashley.
One of the highlights of the afternoon was live acoustic music provided by NCLC board president John Mersereau, along with his daughter Ashley Mersereau and his longtime friend and jam partner Jim Stewart.
Additionally, attendees had an opportunity to venture further into the depths of the reserve’s natural beauty through guided hikes on its two trail systems: The Wetlands Walk and the Legacy Loop. NCLC was grateful to have naturalist Mike Patterson to lead the Legacy Loop walk and volunteer Site Steward Jeff Roehm to lead the Wetlands Walk tour.
Sunny dispositions were abundant at the barn picnic, despite the appearance of chilly coastal weather.
Walking the Trails at Circle Creek
The good news is you don’t have to wait for an event at Circle Creek to make use of the trails, which showcase lush Sitka spruce wetlands and a recovering floodplain. They are open during the summer from dusk to dawn, and this is the perfect time to stop by.
Both trails start at the barn. Here’s how to access them:
Legacy Loop (0.8-mile loop)
Walk out the back door of the barn and bear left, following the mowed path north through the recovering forest. Watch for a trail post on your left, marking the start of the Legacy Loop. The trail crosses a small creek and then splits; go either direction to explore the Sitka spruce forest at the base of Tillamook Head. Return as you came.
Wetlands Walk (2.4-mile loop)
Walk out the back door of the barn and bear right, following an old farm road and wooden bridge across Circle Creek. Then, veer left on the mowed path that follows the creek’s curving route through the floodplain. After the trail drops nearly to creek level at the “avulsion point”—where the Necanicum River and Circle Creek converge during periods of high water—follow the mowed path to the left to reach the first of a series of long boardwalks. At the end of the last section of boardwalk, either return as you came or follow a mowed route east and south to return to the avulsion point and the barn.
Volunteer Site Steward Jeff Roehm leads a hike along the Wetlands Walk.
As this is an ecologically valuable habitat reserve shared by an array of wildlife and plants, we encourage visitors to adhere to a code of conduct that is centered on respect and the leave-no-trace ethic.
Here are a few things to be aware of before you venture out:
- This is a natural wildlife area; trails are rustic and minimally developed and will have natural hazards associated with them (high water, wild animals, uneven ground, swift rivers, etc.)
- The wildlife habitat reserve is private property. Don’t forget to first sign the release form, found inside the north barn.
- Walking is the only mode of transportation on this special reserve (no bikes, vehicles, horses, etc.)
- We love dogs, but they’re not a good match for this sensitive reserve. If you’re planning a visit, let them stay and relax at home!
- Last but not least, there is a large herd of elk that frequents the property. For your safety and theirs, enjoy viewing them from a great distance.