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Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge fully open and critters abound as summer approaches

"One should pay attention to even the smallest crawling creature for these too may have a valuable lesson to teach us." -- Black Elk

If you are looking for a place to get away for an hour or several hours, the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge is the place to visit. It has many different habitats so it a great place to see more than 200 species of birds and a variety of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, plants and insects.COURTESY PHOTO: PAM FARIS - The refuge is welcoming visitors back on the seasonal trail, which opened May 1. The three-mile trail offers visitors a close-up view of the wetlands and opportunities to see a greater diversity of wildlife.

June offers views of waterfowl broods of Canada geese, mallards, wood ducks, cinnamon teal and, occasionally, hooded mergansers. Some of the wildflowers you'll see along the trail and in the woods include bleeding heart, checkermallow, red columbine, Western buttercup and Nootka rose.

The refuge is welcoming visitors back on the seasonal trail, which opened May 1. The three-mile trail offers visitors a close-up view of the wetlands and opportunities to see a greater diversity of wildlife.

This year's opening of the trail is particularly exciting because visitors can see the Chicken Creek restoration project. The project returned the creek to its original two-mile meandering natural system and restored over 280 acres to wetland habitat. Interactive, informational signs are posted along the trail. If you haven't already walked it, this is an opportunity to learn more about the project and its benefits for wildlife.

The visitor center reopened in May after being closed for two years due to the pandemic. The refuge was happy to welcome back the store and trail rover volunteers. The visitor center offers a great place to shop for nature field guides, general books about nature, and children's books. If you need a last-minute gift or have a nature lover on your list, the store also has a selection of nature themed jewelry, scarves, socks, clothing and toys. Friends' members receive 10% off their purchases. If you aren't a member, you can join at the store. Store hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. It is closed on Mondays.

While you're browsing in the store, take time to walk through the exhibit room. It offers an interactive history of how the refuge was started in 1992, opened to the public in 2006, and became the place it is today.

The visitor center is looking for volunteers to provide visitor information and answer questions about the refuge. If you enjoy greeting and meeting new people, consider joining the store volunteers. This is a great opportunity to learn about the natural world and help educate visitors about our mission to conserve and protect habitat for wildlife. All volunteers will receive relevant training and volunteer benefits include behind-the-scenes tours and workshops. If you are interested, please call us at (503) 625-5944 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Tualatin River Bird Festival and native plant sale will return in 2023.

Pam Faris is a volunteer for Friends of the Refuge


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