Straddling a stream with key spawning grounds for salmon, Big Creek's dense forest and open coastal meadow provide critical habitat for the imperiled Oregon silverspot butterfly and other rare species.
North of Florence, between Carl G. Washburn Memorial State Park and the Siuslaw National Forest's Rock Creek Wilderness
Old-growth spruce and hemlock forests, wet and dry meadows, coastal brush, and riparian woodlands provide important habitat for a number of at-risk species including the common blue violet, an essential larval food for the federally threatened Oregon silverspot butterfly.
Named for silver patches beneath orange and black wings, Oregon silverspot butterflies are present on the preserve. The threatened butterfly once thrived in coastal grasslands along the West Coast, but today only four populations are known (including at Cascade Head Preserve).
The preserve has long been a conservation target due to presence of the rare marbled murrelet. Other species of concern include northern spotted owl, winter steelhead, Coho salmon, bald eagle and northern red-legged frog.
Conservancy ecologists and volunteer teams are controlling invasive species, restoring stream habitats, and planting native grasses and butterfly-friendly wildflowers.
The property will eventually be transferred to state or federal ownership. With partners, Conservancy staff are crafting plans to guide the transition.