Drew and Chelsie Messenger celebrated their first anniversary on Sunday, Oct. 11. The two were the first couple to be married at Cottonwood Canyon State Park. They had a gifted photographer as you can see above. We wish them another great year!
Cottonwood is a fantastic venue for weddings with access to two picnic shelters, camping and an historic ranch back drop. It is wild and unpredictable here like any true love should be. If you are interested, please call the park for more information and date availability. 1-541-394-0002
Our many thanks go out to the Oregon Natural Desert Association which spent three days removing barbed wire at Hay Creek here at Cottonwood Canyon State Park. Volunteers took a few pokes as they wound the fencing up after removing it from T-posts so that wildlife can more easily move about in the area. What a huge help! Thank You!
To see more photos go to:
Extra, Extra, see all about it!
This just in: We have a video of the invasive weed study that was done at Cottonwood Crossings Summer Institute in June. The video was produced by students Anakin Welp and Andrea Galvin with the help of instructors Jeremy Lurgio and Art Rzasa.
Students look at Scotch Thistle, native grasses and relate a scientific method which shows if specific plants are either increasing or not on the landscape.
Cottonwood Crossings Summer Institute will hold an in-service for teachers on Oct. 9 to discuss the program and find out how high school teachers could use the outdoor school within their own curriculum. Please call Tom Peterson at 541-705-7129 if interested in the program offering free college credits to students and free masters or continuing education credits to high school teachers via Eastern Oregon University.
To learn more about the program see the related blog below, “Cottonwood Crossings Summer Institute – In the beginning’
Zack Justesen greets a customer at “Taste of Oregon’s Old West.”
Horses were ridin’; beer was quafin’; bass were catchin’; bands were playin; the honey was sellin’ and the wine was flowin’.
Man what a day at Cottonwood Canyon State Park. One of our proudest. Saturday, Sept. 12, marked the parks first “Taste of Oregon’s Old West” event with some 40 vendors in attendance offering food and wares from all over the John Day River Territory,
Mac Stinchfield, editor of the Times Journal, listed the splendor as: “fruits and vegetables, honey and wine, jewelry, and crafts, wheat berries and lavender, hunting and biking packages, camping, horseback and John Day River experiences, rope baskets and leatherwork, wood carved model size planes, truck and equipment, craft beers and ‘hometown’ coffee, soil and water conservation information, pioneer living information, historical society information and local history information.
Tom Lapinski and the City of Wasco took folks for a ride.
Bob Clarke of Fossil and the Wheeler County Ramblers – Dan Robinson, Eugene Lehman and Seth Brewster – provided some boot-tapping entertainment throughout the day.
Temperatures were warm, no doubt, but many sought refuge from Sol’s rays in the misters strewn about.
The Lean-To Cafe of Wasco and the Sage Mountain Diner of Grass Valley provided pork sliders and tacos during the event.
Chow Time – come and get it!
The John Day River Territory tourism cooperative and the Eastern Oregon Visitor Association did a terrific job organizing and marketing the event. We could not have asked for a finer TASTE! Our hats are off to them with special thanks to Janet Dodson and the tremendous team she put together to guide this event.!
A huge thank you to all the participating vendors:
1188 Brewing; Ordnance Brewing; Apricot Apiaries; Art Day Group; Bergin’s Organic Custom Seeds LLC; Carol MacKenzie;
Chic By Squeak; China Hollow Mine; Chinook Run Salmon; Condon Chamber of Commerce; Country Natural Beef;
David Hamilton Winery; Diamond Hitch/Stellar Cabin; Gilliam Co. Historical Society; Glenna Lange Photos;
Gorge WildCraft; Happy Day Ranch; Hometown Coffee Roasters; Jennifer the Painter; Justesen Ranches
Recreation; Kath’s Kreations & Kards; Lasso-Up Rope Baskets; Lean To Cafe & Goose Pit Tavern; Lilla Rose;
Michele Bishop; Moody Tollbridge Winery; Olex Preserve; Ordnance Brewing; Oregon Paleo Lands Institute; Oregon
State Parks Foundation; Party Masters; Red House Ranch; Ron Wilson Custom Leather; Sherman County Historical
Society; Townsend Guest House; Triad Woodshop; Wasco House B & B; Wheat Springs Bakery; Wilson Ranches Retreat; Treo Bike Tours
A huge shout out to K’lynn Kennedy-Lane and Carol MacKenzie for shooting great photos.
The staff at Cottonwood Canyon understands the great effort – travel, time and money – that was taken by so many to make this event possible. We sincerely thank you all and hope to continue the partnership in the future.
Host Jim Deaton shows how to hook some bass.
Does it get any better than this? See you at the TASTE next year, partners.
For more photos goto: www.facebook.com/OregonFolklifeNetwork
The Taste of Oregon’s Old West is the don’t-miss event of the year for Eastern Oregon! Explore the scenic wonders, art and music of the John Day River Territory. Discover the flavors of our local chefs and farms. Learn about our unique tourist destinations. Experience our way of life with guided hikes, bass fishing, horseback rides, horseshoe competitions, live music and more!
For more information please click on the event poster.
It takes a special-kind-of kid to endure cheat grass in their socks and dust in their pancakes.
But by the great dust devils of Cottonwood, we had eight of them this year. And they rocked this 8,000-acre canyon land of sage and basalt with some extraordinary park projects.
High school students from Arlington, Condon, La Grande and Boise camped out for five days here in late June and undertook projects in archeology, botany, writing and photography.
“The camp was a really great experience to have because a lot of people don’t have these opportunities; it opens doors for people,” said 17-year-old Andrea Galvin of Arlington “And it is a great intellectual and emotional experience to be away from phones and technology.”
This was the inaugural year for a five-day outdoor school at Cottonwood which featured high school students and teachers earning free college credits via Eastern Oregon University and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Professionals.
“Both Shannon (Duerdon-Thompson), and I were so pleased with the students involvement and finished projects,” said Arlington High School Teacher Lori McGuire “It was so neat to see it finally come off in such a great way. The river day was perfect and the kids couldn’t stop talking about the entire experience…”
Lori McGuire was instrumental to the institute’s success, able to muster 6 students from the local area to complete the college coursework. She was on the ground floor in designing the program and cannot be thanked enough for her dedication.
Parks Archeologist Nancy Nelson led groups on discovery and interpretation of stacked-rock features within the park. In addition, Nelson took special care to point out best ethics when coming into contact with historic or prehistoric artifacts.
“I really enjoyed being at this institute it was a great way to get outdoors and learn; sitting in the classroom can get really old and boring and this did not. I am definitely interested in coming back next year,” said 9th -grader Rachael Keniry.
Oregon Parks Natural Resource Specialist Noel Bacheller spearheaded a plant inventory in Esau Canyon via beltline transects. Students were able to track native and invasive species through this process and then make comparisons to previous inventories to see if there were any trends. Unfortunately, it appeared that non-native grasses were increasing. But the number of native forbs had also bumped up.
Cottonwood Crossings also brought in a couple of ringers. I mean, inside the shoe, metal-to-metal ringers.
Art Rzasa, an English teacher from Montana who has completed outdoor education programs for more than two decades, brought his magic to the table in writing skills. In addition he sought and got the talented Jeremy Lurgio, whose skills in photography and video journalism were bar none.
The two focused in on both botany and archeology, creating “Not Wanted” posters for invasive species, an “Oregon Field Guide” feeling journalism piece on doing plant inventories, and then two features with students Anakin Welp and Andrea Galvin. Welp narrated a piece on the native American Pictographs and its nearby recent graffiti. And Galvin looked to the stacked rock and its message from the past to deliver a riveting poem.
“I’ve never seen kids that are more interested in what they are doing or adults who are more willing to help them,” Rzasa said. “I hope the institute will continue to grow and serve more teachers and students in North Central Oregon.”
While the program had a strong year, it is definitely still in the development process and much work is yet to be done in developing a sustainable program.
But the effort to give students from rural communities in the John Day River Basin will remain strong. “Students in parks doing projects is a natural,” said Park Manager Tom Peterson. “Who better than the next generation to come and study these beautiful resources and create the layers of interpretation or understanding of them? We need stewards. And they will be the ones to pass this on to their kids.”
The Oregon Parks Foundation is currently working to raise funds for an experience center that would serve as a classroom as well as interpretive center. If the money can be put together, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has agreed to build 5 cabins and a shower facility to complete a small campus for continuing outdoor education. Those facilities would also be open the public when not in use by school programs. This year, Cottonwood Canyon has held outdoor programs for schools in Condon, Moro, Grass Valley and Arlington, and we hope to improve upon that in years to come. Those who are interested in donating to the experience center should email Oreg John Hoffnagle at John.Hoffnagle@OregonStateParksFoundation.org
Huge support for CCSI has come from Parks via Director Lisa Sumption and Deputy Director MG Devereux, Department of Environmental Quality’s Randy Jones who undertook the Memorandum of Understanding with Eastern Oregon University, OPRD District Manager Chris Parkins, Nancy Nelson, Noel Bacheller, John Hoffnaggle and Tim Wood with the Oregon Parks Foundation, Park Rangers David Spangler and Ryan Bell, Volunteer Hosts David and Heather Cross and Jim and Dana Harnish.
Art Rzasa and Department of Environmental Quality’s Randy Jones, who undertook and completed the memorandum of understanding with EOU, went above and beyond to see this program through, never wavering in their dedication. And a huge shout out to my wife, Peggy! She brought the organizational skills to purchase groceries for a week for 24 people and designed the menus and even found prizes, such as Tums and Red Hots for the chili cook-off!
“I loved this institute, it was super fun and I enjoyed all of the great company. I also really liked how we didn’t have cell service because it definitely changed the experience in a good way,” said Leah Harbaugh.
For more information about the school, contact Tom Peterson at tom.v.Peterson@Oregon.gov.
Yahoo! We’re so excited we’re posting early.
Cottonwood Canyon has lassoed itself a heapin’ helpin’ of Eastern Oregon hospitality. So plan to saddle up, partner. A family festival, “Taste of Oregon’s Old West,” will be held Sept. 12 at Cottonwood Canyon State Park in Gilliam and Sherman counties, Oregon’s newest state park.
“Taste of Oregon’s Old West” will showcase the locally grown food and beverages, recreation, specialty lodging and dining, culture, and landscape of the John Day River Territory of Oregon.
Visitors will have a chance to taste the flavors of the region including honey and wheat snacks, natural beef, microbrews, wine, and fruit. There will also be homestead skills and demonstrations, and information on recreational opportunities such as ranch and cabin stays, agriculture tours, rafting, hunting outfitters, and more.
Regional art and music will be highlighted, as well as horseback rides along the John Day River and a guided hike.
Admission is free; there may be a small fee with some activities.
Established in 2013, the 8,000-acre state park is the second largest in Oregon. Formerly a ranch, it features rugged, steep and scenic canyons carved by the winding John Day River.
Cottonwood Canyon State Park is located on County Road 206, about 16 miles southeast of Wasco, and 25 miles northwest of Condon.
For more information about “Taste of Oregon’s Old West,” visit http://www.johndayriverterritory.com.