When you prep for the holidays, it helps to have good friends to share the work. People who go the extra mile and make the event fun because the holidays are special just like Silver Falls State Park.

Lou Nelson, President of the Friends of Silver Falls State Park, said that the upcoming Christmas Festival gives back to the community:

It’s a gathering of the “Friends of Silver Falls,” and for the past 23 years, they have pitched in to decorate South Falls Lodge for visitors who come to play.

South Falls Lodge is the flagship building of the park and the only lodge in Oregon’s state park system. The Civilian Conservation Corps built the lodge in the 1930’s and it stands large with rugged rock and timber construction and rare myrtlewood furniture.

Dorothy Brown-Kwaiser, Silver Falls Park Ranger, called the event an “all-Oregon atmosphere.”

“When the CCC was here so many years ago, they didn’t have many machines, so all the work was done by hand. Look up at the beams, you can see the hand-hewn marks – that wasn’t done in a mill so it’s irreplaceable.
That’s a tribute to the CCC and all of their early park work.”

The Silver Falls Christmas Festival is a gift from the Friends and the park’s staff and it is held during the second weekend in December each year.

“Kids can make gingerbread houses,” noted Nelson. They can also make Christmas cards, various Christmas decorations and birdhouses. We even have singers and a volunteer performs the bagpipes. It’s great entertainment.”

South Falls Christmas Festival is also a great bargain: no admission fee and open top everyone. There is a $5 for a parking fee at the state park. It is a fine holiday gift for the family!

Speaking of holiday gifts, if your looking for something for the avid outdoors man or woman in your family, check out these suggestions:

  1. Robert Campbell, store manger at Fisherman’s Marine and Outdoor says holiday “gadgets and gear” that are made in Oregon are easy to come by at his store. Many of the possible gift items in the well-known store sport familiar names– like Columbia, Danner and Traeger. For example, Campbell pointed out the latest in wading boots made by “Korker,” a local wading bot manufacturer that offers a “convertible” boot with interchangeable soles that suit the territory.”Whether it’s pea gravel or mud bottom, large slimy substrate, boulders and that sort of thing. This boot can suit the conditions the angler meets anywhere they go fishing.”
  2. When it comes to seeing clearly, Oregon’s Leopold binoculars can bring the great outdoors into focus. “They’re for hikers, hunters, birders, fishermen,” noted Campbell. “Anyone with an outdoor pursuit who wants to see things up close and personal.” He noted that homegrown, Portland-based, Leatherman Tools makes a toolbox for your pocket: “You’ll have a million uses for it; once you have one in your pocket, you realize you shouldn’t have been without it.”
  3. When it comes to reading more about the outdoors, Oregon’s Frank Amato Publishing based in Milwaukee, produces hundreds of book titles with an Oregon outdoor theme.
  4. Folks who like to float a boat will have no trouble finding a gift that’s made in Oregon, noted longtime boating expert Trey Carskadon. As Chairman of the Oregon State Marine Board, Carksadon’s been an advocate for the marine world for decades. He said it’s the homegrown nature of Oregon marine-related ‘supply and demand’ recreation that’s led to a variety of marine products that boat owners will enjoy and use. Fore example, he pointed out a rod holder that keeps fishing rods safe, secure and out of the way in the boat.”It’s a great little gadget designed so that it will straddle a boat transom or the back of a pickup. You can store your rods there for secure, safe storage when you’re running from spot to spot.”He also showed off a handy tiller extension made by Ironwood Pacific in Lake Oswego. “You simply fasten it on to your outboard motor and makes it real easy to steer.”Tightline is a company based in Aloha, Oregon and produces an electric warmer that helps to keep the wet out of your boat. “Basically, it’s a de-humidifier that keeps the boat dry and free of condensation. Water is just a killer on marine products during the winter months, so this is a handy product.”Trey added that the best gift of all for the mariner in your life could also be the most affordable: free online information at Boatoregon.com.

    “You will find all of the regulations and rules of the water and there’s a wealth of other publications too. For example, boating in the Columbia River, the Willamette River, at the Oregon coast. There are plenty of maps and charts – and it’s all free. It is the first place I go when I plan to take my boat to new territory in Oregon.”

That brings us back to South Falls Lodge where you can visit anytime – enjoy the lodge fire, the holiday decorations and a spirit of the season across a vast parkland that is open for hiking and camping seven days a week.

You can also enjoy a bargain in that parking pass purchase this month. Oregon Parks and Recreation offers a five-dollar discount on an annual parking pass purchase.

Another holiday gift idea that’s sure to being a smile: purchase an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife hunting or fishing license for a friend or family member. Simply visit any sporting goods store that sells license and provide a person’s basic information: name and birth date and you can buy the license for them as a gift. It’s a great idea and the sort of gift they’ll remember all year long.

about author Grant McOmie

Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.


In this Grant’s Getaway

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  1. Irene Jackson says…

    Our family loves the Silver Falls Christmas Festival! It is our most cherished family Christmas tradition. We have been attending every year for the past 28 years. Once we were hooked we started volunteering and became members of The Friends of Silver Falls. This event puts us into the holiday spirit! There are lots of fun things to do for all ages. You can make ornaments, gingerbread houses, cards and gift bags. You can create you own wreaths with ALL the trimmings. The entertainment is great and you can sing along if you choose to. Santa, Mrs. Clause, & the Elf are even there to greet everyone. They have a newly remodeled gift shop where you can find that special gift for someone. Even the Salem Audubon Society will be on hand with gift items to buy, and the kids can build their own birdhouses for $5. Once you attend the Silver Falls Christmas Festival, I can guarantee that you’ll be back. :) Merry Christmas everyone!

    Written on December 9th, 2010 / Flag this Comment
  2. Aditya Jain says…

    I visited Silver Falls for my boyscout camp. Boy it was a major Fun!
    Here is my story of silver falls:

    Written on April 11th, 2011 / Flag this Comment
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