Trailside participants

Rocking the old growth

January 15th, 2010 | Posted by in Field Excursions

Sometimes we think in order to see new things that we need to travel to the furthest reaches of our earth.

I was reminded of how wrong this train of thought is last Saturday as I traveled 40 minutes downriver to Rockport State Park. Rockport is a small place, blink while driving across Highway 20 East to the Cascades and you might well miss it. However, being small and little known should not suggest that this State Park has nothing to offer. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find a more easily accessible example of old growth forest anywhere in the Cascades.

Old GrowthThat which we do not speak of makes its presence known

Adam Lorio, an alumni of the North Cascades Institute graduate program and current park interpreter at Deception Pass State Park on Whidbey Island, invited Brandi and I to spend Saturday, January 9th, volunteering at the park for a deep forest ecology event that offered free crafts, popcorn, and naturalist-led hikes. We estimate around 200 people attended the event – a great turnout, considering Rockport is located on a dead-end road November through April as Highway 20 closes for the winter 35 miles upriver.

The main objective of the event is to raise interest in the park since it decided to close its campground due to hazards involved with sleeping near 300-foot tall, 600 year old trees. As succession advances, half-millennia old Douglas firs tend to succumb to mother nature’s rigorous conditioning. Chinese Teapots Wholesale Chinese Teapots Amber Spiral Bracelets
Blow-downs, as well as root and stem rot, create hazards that can be unpredictable and unnecessary for sleeping campers.  The park, however, is open for day hiking and offers some spectacular sights.

Adam LorioWashington State Park Interpretive Ranger Adam Lorio with participants
Paul with kidsCraft time and snacks
Large Douglas FirsA glimpse deep into the old growth forest of Rockport State Park

The park service has a jewel in Rockport that should not be missed. The Rockport State Park Deep Forest Experience, which is free, will be offered on Saturday, January 16th, 23rd, and 30th from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Come on out, makes some crafts, see some trees, and do some eagle watching while you are at it.

Photos courtesy of Brandi Stewart.

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