Hello there! Welcome to the first of a three part series we’re are doing on our trail packet locations for monthly subscriptions in 2020.
In this post, we are sharing the locations that subscribers will be exploring from February through May.
First, though, let’s review what monthly subscriptions are, how they work, and what kinds of materials they include.
Monthly trail packet subscriptions are a great way to explore Portland parks together as a family, one family friendly trail at a time.
Families who sign up begin receiving their packets in mail around mid-to-late February and continue receiving them for as long as they are subscribed, for every month of the year except for December and January.
Subscriptions help keep kids engaged when they are hiking through place based materials and activities, such as stickers to use with a kid centered map to document wonders found along the trail. They also support learning and creativity afterwards with other kinds of hands-on materials.
Each packet in 2020 will include:
(Learn more about 2020 features in this blog post.)
The locations are curated to celebrate the best of each season and highlight the wide variety of habitats and wonders open to the public right here in the Portland area.
Trail locations are all within 30 miles of downtown Portland. Every trail selected is 2.5 miles or less.
Spring in the Pacific Northwest
Spring starts early here in the Pacific Northwest, with some of the earliest blooms and buds arriving as early as late January. This means that by February, new growth is already beginning to appear along many trails.
February and early March are also the times when you’ll see a lot of late winter wonders, like verdant moss and lichen, fungi, and slugs.
By mid-March, spring wildflowers are appearing, starting with trilliums. By mid-April, wildflowers and flowering trees blanket the landscape. Warmer weather also marks the return of many animals and insects like honeybees and songbirds.
By May, the forests and meadows are buzzing with life. By Memorial Day, we begin to transition into the drier summer season (marked by butterflies, ladybugs, songbirds, snakes, and a lot more).
This year, we are celebrating each stage of the season with a favorite spring trail chosen specifically to highlight the season's best wonders.
Spring 2020 Selections, Month by Month
February: Canemah Bluff
Subscribers will begin the year with a trail packet for one of our favorite winter trails - the Canemah Bluff Nature Park trail in Oregon City.
Why is this one of our favorites? Because it’s hard to find a better place to experience winter this lush and verdant.
A highlight of the park is the Licorice Fern Trail, where ferns of all kinds blanket the forest floor. The trails also feature abundant moss and lichen that are at their most developed in late winter. This means lots of fun hands-on learning about ferns and moss in the packet!
We also chose Canemah Bluff as our February selection, specifically, because it’s a place with historical significance for indigenous and settler histories. The Willamette River below the bluff was a canoe landing spot for Native Americans, and this area of the Willamette marks the end of the Oregon Trail.
And what better way to mark Oregon’s birthdate (February 14) than with some place-based learning about these histories? The route we chose includes a visit to a Pioneer era cemetery and spots to view the Willamette River below. Kids will learn more about the these histories through their Field Guide material.
This packet will arrive mid-to-late February. Sign up deadline for this (and all subscription packets) is the first of the month.
March: Tryon Creek State Park
When we were beginning to narrow down our choices for 2020, we knew we wanted to included Tryon Creek State Park. No matter what time of year you visit the park, the lush second growth forest has so much to see.
Why March over a summer or fall month?
One word: trilliums.
In early Spring, Tryon Creek is blanketed with these delicate white & pink forest flowers. It's a pretty amazing sight! With the packet materials, families will get to learn more about these iconic flowers…and how to observe them with care (they are very fragile).
Spring is also a great time at Tryon Creek to explore the lush second growth forest as it reawakens from its winter sleep. Expect slugs, snails, and lots of hands-on learning about the park’s great old-growth stumps in this packet.
This packet will arrive mid-to-late March. Sign up deadline for this (and all subscription packets) is the first of the month.
April: Camassia Nature Park
Ahh, April. What a gorgeous month. April is when spring wildflower season is at its peak. The days are growing longer. The sun is out more frequently. Bees are buzzing, birds are singing.
This April, subscribers will get to explore the very best wildflower viewing area in all the region: Camassia Nature Park.
If you haven’t been before, you are in for a treat.
This park features rock cropped meadows that are blanketed with pink and purple in the spring, as Camas lilies reach their peak. Stop and look closely and you’ll see dozens of bees gathering pollen among the blooms.
You’ll also see ospreys nesting, and on sunny days, get glimpses of Mt Hood.
The packet will explore the symbiotic relationship of bees and flowers in detail. Expect material about the park’s meadow habitat and geology as well.
This packet will arrive mid-to-late April. Sign up deadline for this (and all subscription packets) is the first of the month.
May: Audubon Society Nature Trail System
In May we’ll be turning our attention towards away from plants and insects towards animal life, with a packet all about the looped trail systems at the Audubon Society of Portland in Forest Park.
During the adventure, families may also want to stop into the visitor center, where families can meet birds at the care center.
Birds will certainly be a part of the packet focus…but won’t be the only animals we’ll explore this month. The Audubon Society trails include a small pond where families might spot salamanders, frogs…or animal tracks!
This packet will arrive mid-to-late May. Sign up deadline for this (and all subscription packets) is the first of the month.
Thinking about signing up for a subscription? You are in luck! There are lots of ways subscribe.
You can sign up for as little as one month, or get a larger gift for your child or grandchild that can last the entire year.
During the holiday 2019 season, we also offer special holiday gifts that come with all kinds of extra options. To learn more about our gift subscriptions, see all our different options at the online store (only available until Feb 1, 2020).
To learn more about subscription benefits and monthly options, head on over to our subscription page.
Learn more about 2020 features in in our recent blog post.
And coming soon...Part 2 of our series on 2020 Locations, where we’ll be sharing what’s happening in the summer months!
Bryna R. Campbell