High Desert Naturalist Hikes
Bend Park and Recreation District is offering two sessions of hikes May 16 to 23 and June 6 to 13 that explore the region's geology, wetlands, birds, and flowers. Each hike is 4 to 6 miles and runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. In-district cost is $50 and out-of-district cost is $60. Contact BPRD at 541-389-7275.
Wildflower fans have a valuable online resource to check when successive blooms are occurring in Oregon at oregonwildflowers.org. The site was the brainstorm of avid wildflower enthusiast and hiker Greg Lief. Reports of where the latest blooms are occurring statewide are constantly updated and the website provides an interactive site for blooms by region. Site users can sign up for email notifications as blooms occur and can join an active Facebook group as well. Lief says the idea for the site originated from his frustration about a lack of reliable and accurate information and decided to do something about it by organizing the effort.
Central Oregon Hikes
The Deschutes Land Trust has announced its 2016 Walk + Hike Series led by volunteer naturalists. The series includes a robust 120 free walks, hikes, and bike rides at Land Trust protected lands. Participants will be able to explore birds, wildflowers, and regional geology. Hikes range from short bird walks to longer, full-day outings exploring glacier-carved valleys and volcanic craters. There are even night hikes planned. Registration for each outing opens one month prior to the outing and can be done online at deschuteslandtrust.org/hikes. The Deschutes Land Trust conserves land for wildlife, scenic views and local communities, and has protected nearly 9,000 acres since 1995.
Columbia Gorge Hikes
The Friends of the Columbia Gorge has an amazing hiking series available for those who want to explore the 40-mile stretch of this National Scenic Area. Through October, there are over 100 hikes available to explore wildflowers and waterfalls. The Columbia River Gorge was shaped by major floods beginning about 15,000 years ago when ice dams at the massive Lake Missoula in Montana burst, sending torrents of water through the region over thousands of years. Check the many Gorge hikes here: gorgefriends.org.