Acquired back in January, the 1,100-acre, Chehalem Ridge Natural Area, near Forest Grove, is the largest open space ever to be snapped up by Metro’s bond measures. Which means, it might take a while for you to get to know the place. Unless, that is, you jumpstart your introduction with an exploration of the park courtesy of a Metro naturalist. Discuss animal tracks, observe beaver ponds, or just hang back and ogle views of a quintet of Cascade volcanoes. Bonus: afterwards, forestry geeks can stick around to catch a discussion about what’s being done to preserve Chehalem’s trove of rare oak woodlands.
Lone Fir Cemetery
Managed as a city park, the 30-acre Lone Fir Cemetery, which dates back to 1855, is loaded with local history, not to mention, trees. Really big, important trees it turns out. And Saturday evening you can witness City Commissioner Nick Fish and Metro Council President David Bragdon and other assorted dignitaries gather at twilight to dedicate three of them—a 100-foot tall incense cedar, the “General Joseph Lane” maple, and the solitary Douglas fir (the cemetery’s namesake)—into the ranks of the city’s official heritage trees. Live performances from artists that were featured on the Lone Fir Cemetery CD back in 2008 mean picnic blankets will be in order. As is a good ghost story. Good thing there’s a screening of Come Together Home, a documentary about the fate of more than 1,000 Chinese rail workers that were buried here long ago.
16th annual Columbia Slough Regatta
Leave the Sperry-Topsiders at home for this sail-less boat rally. Instead, grab those trusty Keens of yours and shove off into the quiet slack water of the Columbia Slough on Sunday alongside a friendly flotilla of 400-some-odd canoeists and kayakers for what is considered to be the largest one-day paddle event in Oregon. You might want to grab some binocs, too. Because while the paddling pace may be leisurely at this beginner-friendly gathering, sightings of resident otters, painted turtles, eagles, and blue heron are likely to be fast and furious. No boat? Call ahead to charter one of the complimentary 45-minute rentals.