NCLC recently hosted the Columbia River Youth Corps, who were out at our Circle Creek property near Seaside beginning the first phase of our Circle Creek Trails project. The youth crew is based in St. Helens, and is part of a program offered through St. Helens High School. Trail building is one of their areas of expertise, and every bit of their training came in to play as they helped begin the transformation of an occasionally mucky elk path into a beautiful walk through the forest.
More work will contine on the trail throughout the summer as the ground dries, but we wanted the trail to be walkable this weekend so that everyone coming out to participate in our Earth Day at Circle Creek event could get a sneak preview of this beautiful trail that skirts the foot of Tillamook Head. Inspired by the path already forged by the Circle Creek Elk Herd, NCLC volunteers Doug Ray and Neal Maine–with the guidance of Andy Rasmussen of Lewis and Clark National Historical Park–have laid out a path that takes you across a tumbling creek and through a forest lush with native shrubs, trees of all ages and remnant old-growth stumps that are serving as nurse logs to a regenerating rainforest.
The hardworking youth crew were motivated to make even the temporary bridges and boardwalks not just walkable, but beautiful, fashioning sturdy handrails out of branches found while clearing the path.
This very first trail at Circle Creek has special meaning, not just to North Coast Land Conservancy, but to new volunteers and supporters that have become dear to all our hearts. Patte Fenderson and Bob Svec and their friends and families are helping to build the trail in memory of Patte and Bob’s son Matthew Guderian, who passed away in 2011. Matthew was a dynamic young man who loved nature, and who found great joy outdoors on the Oregon coast. We can think of no finer way to honor Matthew and his life than to build this trail that will connect so many people of all ages to the beauty and wonder to be found here.
Patte and Bob joined NCLC Stewardship Director Melissa Reich and volunteers Penny and Jay Paulsen this week on the first exploratory walk along this work-in-progress trail, and gave it high marks for walkability, which is quite an achievement given all the rain we’ve had so far this year.
Many thanks to the awesome members of the Columbia River Youth Corps for their dedication to making this trail a reality. And many thanks to Patte, Bob and all the friends and family of Matthew Guderian for making this trail possible.
Come out and join us on Saturday, April 20th for our Earth Day at Circle Creek event and get a sneak preview walk of the trail, and maybe stay to plant a tree or two. How often do you get to say you helped to plant a future rainforest?