Cascade Head Preserve is a haven for rare plants, wildlife and grassland communities once abundant along the Oregon Coast and provides critical habitat for native prairie grasses, rare wildflowers and the Oregon silverspot butterfly--and people with the opportunity to enjoy them.
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
In the early 1960s, volunteers organized an effort to protect Cascade Head from development. The Conservancy bought it in 1966 from the owner of the Cascade Head Ranch development with funds raised in part by local volunteers and the Mazama’s hiking club. Because of its ecological significance, Cascade Head Preserve and surrounding national forest and other lands have won recognition as a National Scenic Research Area and a United Nations Biosphere Reserve.
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
Thanks to your support, researchers are testing methods of maintaining and restoring grassland habitat for the Oregon silverspot butterfly, including prescribed fire. But it takes a few years for the early blue violet — the butterfly's host plant — to reach maturity. As a "stop-gap measure," the Conservancy teamed up with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Lewis and Clark College and the Oregon Zoo to gather female silverspots for captive rearing. After being hatched and raised at the college and zoo, their progeny are reintroduced as pupae to the preserve.
Conservancy ecologists also monitor the populations of rare plants throughout the year. In spring and summer, teams of volunteers remove invasive species such as Himalayan blackberry, help maintain trails, assist with research projects and teach visitors about the preserve. Join our volunteer team today!
Additionally, our scientists are also helping evaluate sites off Oregon's coast to better protect natural resources, including right off Cascade Head. The marine reserves will protect fish as they rear and grow; then the fish disperse into areas where they can be sustainably harvested.