Exploring the Willamette River

Over the past few years, I’ve traversed the Willamette River in all four seasons. The open Piney Woods, flooded ravines, and the bank of the Willamette provide some unique ecological niches and spectacular vistas. This year, I walked all the main trails of Willamette Park and several of the overgrown paths connecting them. I plan on making my own map with some whimsical place names. This photo journal covers the spring and summer seasons.

Some of the largest Black Cottonwood trees in town are hidden away in Willamette Park.

Photo 1. Some of the largest black cottonwood trees in town are hidden away in Willamette Park.

 

Small and delicate fringe cups grow in shady, damp areas.

Photo 2. Small and delicate fringe cups grow in shady, damp areas.

 

A young Big-leaf Maple is already living up to its name.

Photo 3. A young big-leaf maple is already living up to its name.

 

A Pacific wren is adding the finishing touches to its nest.

Photo 4. A Pacific wren is adding the finishing touches to its nest.

 

This osprey called to me from a distance, " Come, see what I caught!"

Photo 5. This osprey called to me from a distance, ” Come, see what I caught!”

 

I call this Mrs. Hippy River. It is flooded about half the year.

Photo 6. I call this Mrs. Hippy River. It is flooded about half the year.

 

Another view of the lush, fertile Mrs. Hippy River valley.

Photo 7. Another view of the lush, fertile Mrs. Hippy River valley.

 

Above the seasonal high-water mark, a variety of hard woods grow and lots of pines. This is the Piney Woods.

Photo 8. Above the seasonal high-water mark, a variety of hardwoods and lots of pines grow. This is the Piney Woods.

 

When the river level drops enough, it's possible to walk right along the bank of the Willamette.

Photo 9. When the river level drops enough, it’s possible to walk right along the bank of the Willamette.

 

A number of birds and mammals harvest the river for food.

Photo 10. A number of birds and mammals harvest the river for food.

 

Blog post and photos by Rick Kleinosky.

Rick is a Corvallis resident, valued Greenbelt Land Trust member, and celebrated local photographer. You’ll often see him at guided Greenbelt walks camera in hand and ready to explore. Through his lens, he tells stories where he is able to capture moments in time as well as the myriad of perspectives of the mid-Willamette Valley’s landscapes. He shows us that protecting land and waterways allows everyone to enjoy the enduring beauty of these special places.