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Big Horns Returneth

November 4, 2015

2015-11-04  2914  Look who’s looking. Our camp host Elizabeth Daniel had a pleasant surprise today on her way to Lone Tree Campground.

Big Horns were pretty interested in what was going on, taking a close look from a nearby hillside. Elizabeth’s point-and-shoot helped capture the story. The herd of about 10 hung out together for about three hours during the heat of the day.

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2015-11-04  2915This young ram seemed a bit tired out. Visitors saw many in rut last week as the mating season is well underway.

2015-11-03  2871 This American Coot had the river to himself on Tuesday morning.

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Bucks are also faring well here at Cottonwood. This healthy specimen was caught nibbling plants in the host site in day use early Tuesday morning. He forgot to make the coffee, though.

2015-11-04  2909This John Deere Tractor hub is one of the many little artifacts that bring a sense of wonder about the generations that came before us. This must weigh well over 100 pounds. It will likely be here for your next visit.

2015-11-04  2900And now, your moment of zen. Cottonwood awaits you.

Where’s Heron? Where’s Otter? Where’s Hazel?

October 23, 2015

Hawk Thanks to some funtastic photos by Volunteer Host Eric Braun – who brought you sheep in camp –  and camper Bevin Clapper, we are playing a little game of “Where’s Waldo” Cottonwood style.   But first, your moment of zen above… If a hawk flaps its wings and no one is there to see it, you should really get to Cottonwood!

snake chaser 2Hazel Hoover did a little where’s rattlesnake? last week

snake chaserNo luck, fortunately for her mom. Cold night temps have sent them into hiding.

HeronOk, now can you find the heron. It’s not in a van down by the river.

River OtterCan you find the otter? Ripple in still water, when there is no pebble thrown, no wind to blow.

valhallaLast, but not least, where are you? Could you be in  this place?

Bringing on the BIG HORN

October 22, 2015

863With the racket of basalt falling down cliffs, heads turned upward to the stark contrast of the skyline met with the stout outline of a big horn sheep. We had some special visitors on Wednesday. They were a bit reticent at first and then decided to take over just downriver of our group site. Campers got a nice view, to say the least.



Happy Anniversary Drew and Chelsie

October 12, 2015


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

What’s the best work… Team Work: Oregon Natural Desert Association gets unwired at Cottonwood

October 5, 2015


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:

2015 Cottonwood S.P. fence mapping trip

Look out Oregon Field Guide!

September 20, 2015

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’

Taste of Oregon’s Old West — EE YI YI YI YI YOW!

September 17, 2015

Zack J and Kennedy KLL

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.

Tractor ride

Tom Lapinski and the City of Wasco took folks for a ride.

Bud band

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.

good scenic 2

Booths abounded throughout the day-use area with that incredible basalt canyon backdrop.TOOW sept 12 2015 JD

Lean too

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!

Kara and Jessica TOOW JD

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.

Cute leader

Does it get any better than this?  See you at the TASTE next year, partners.

For more photos goto:


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