At Oregon's Sandy River Gorge, six miles of untamed river with upland terraces and canyons provide excellent habitat for native salmon and other wildlife and an old-growth forest, all within 20 miles of Oregon's largest urban area.
At the Conservancy's Sandy River Gorge Preserve, ecologists monitor streamside habitats, amphibian populations and water quality. Volunteers and youth corps teams remove non-native invasive species and maintain hiking trails.
Within the gorge lies the best remaining low elevation old growth Douglas-fir forest in Oregon, including trees over 500 years old.
Garlic mustard, in the foreground, is a serious invader to native forests. Volunteers and contractors, as seen above, work to remove invasive species from the Sandy River watershed to restore habitats for fish and wildlife.
Preserve work crews take a break along the Sandy River. The river provides excellent spawning habitat for native runs of Chinook and coho salmon and steelhead trout. The forest is home to the Oregon slender salamander, a species found only in northwestern Oregon. Black-tailed deer, river otter and osprey are also common.
The Salmon Festival in Oxbow Regional Park celebrates the annual return of the fall Chinook salmon to the Sandy River. Twin sisters and festival veterans look for redds and spawning salmon with polarized glasses from the lookout point at the festival last fall.
Oregon's salmon festival offers a variety of activities, including interactive exhibits like the Wy-Kan-Ush-Pum Village hosted by the fishing tribes of the Columbia River basin. There's even a traditional salmon cooking fire and where salmon from it are served all 3 days of the festival.
Children and parents play inside a giant salmon balloon at the Oxbow salmon festival on the banks of the Sandy River, hearing a story about why it is important to keep the river clean and how to help do so.