Learn to fish this Saturday

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Take a walk back through time and visit an authentic fur trappers encampment on June 8 when costumed re-enactors portray the lifestyle of fur trappers. Champoeg was a rendezvous spot for trappers and their families.Many events are planned at Champoeg State Heritage Center this month. Take advantage of these opportunities to enjoy the park, located five miles west of Interstate 5 at the Donald/Aurora exit 278. For complete information, call 503-678-1251, ext. 221, or go online at

n Champoeg State Heritage Area is celebrating Free Fishing Weekend and State Parks Day on June 1. Licenses are not required to fish in the park’s creeks or the Willamette River that day and the $5 per vehicle parking fee will be waived for the day as well. Also on Saturday night, subject to available sites, camping is free.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. park employees and volunteers will be stationed at the park boat dock to offer fishing lessons and advice. A limited number of fishing rods and reels will be available for use that day and free bait will be provided. Kids can participate in a Junior Ranger program and refreshments will be served.

The visitor center will be open so park attendees can enjoy exhibits, videos and the heritage garden.

n Visit an authentic fur trapper’s encampment on June 8. In the early 1800s the bank of the Willamette River at Champoeg was host to fur trappers and their families who gathered there prior to heading inland to hunt and trap. This was also the point of return or “rendezvous” as the French trappers called it, where trappers prepared the hides for canoe transport down river to Fort Vancouver. Costumed re-enactors from Forest Hills Brigade Black Powder Club, the A.M.M. Party of the Wallamet and several free trappers will be portray the lifestyle, work and customs of the fur trade in the Riverside Day Use area from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event features demonstrations of fire arms, cooking, fire starting, knife and hawk throw, setting traps, packing, trade and general camp life. Admission is free with purchase of a $5 per vehicle day pass or annual pass.

n Bluebird Day will be celebrated June 15 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the visitor center. This annual event highlights the efforts to restore Western Bluebirds to the north end of the Willamette Valley. Visitors can view bluebirds at their nesting boxes, build or purchase a next box for your own yard, watch videos and purchase wildlife related items. This is a Junior Ranger program for children. Refreshments will be served.

“Less than four decades ago, nesting bluebirds had all but disappeared from the valley floor,” said Danile Klug, interpretive park ranger. “A dedicated group of volunteers from the Prescott Bluebird Recovery Project began installing nesting boxes in parks and on private land. In the last 30 years, the population has slowly recovered and now there is a healthy bluebird population in and around Champoeg.”

Admission is free with purchase of a $5 per vehicle day pass or annual pass.

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