There’s quite an outdoor show for those in the know at a place where you set your own pace for a walk on the wild side. This week, we explore a natural area and wildlife refuge that’s as grass roots as it gets – stroll paths marked with amazing wildlife moments at a time of year brimming with wild critters….Smith-Bybee Lakes Wildlife Area.
Framed by industrial parks and development on all sides, it is 2,000 acres of cottonwood forest and wetlands; the largest urban lake and marsh in the country. While human activity occurs all around, all the time, along an easy paved trail, the city hubbub seemed a million miles away.
Top of his local list for newcomers: Crystal Springs Park in SE Portland.
“It is the best beginner’s bird watching place in Portland,” exclaimed Davis. “I’ve been there on a bird walk in February – and we saw 13 different species of waterfowl without binoculars. There may not be a lot there, but the diversity is just spectacular.”
Part of the wonder of Smith-Bybee Wildlife Area is that it’s not on the way to anywhere; you must go there to explore it for yourself on a journey of discovery.
About the 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.