Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wapato Greenway, Sauvie Island

Wapato State Park, Sauvie Island


View Larger Map

Today's adventure takes us to Sauvie Island, just north of Portland, and an obscure spot variously known as "Wapato State Park", "Wapato Access Greenway", "Wapato State Access Area" and probably other variants I haven't encountered yet. The park, whatever it's called, surrounds marshy Virginia Lake, on the Multnomah Channel side of the island. Apparently it's a great birdwatching spot, so naturally I dropped by in July. Nothing's migrating now, and the lake's close to drying up, and there are mosquitoes all over the place, but at least the weather's better. And more to the point, I had a bit of free time to check the place out right now. Even if I'd been inclined to brave the cold and rain and mud over the winter and early spring, there were meetings to attend and there was code to write and it simply wasn't possible.

If you'd like a bit more comprehensive, and seasonally-appropriate treatment of the place, you might want to check here. Plenty of photos (grey skies and all), GPS waypoints if you need 'em, the whole works.

The park also has a boat dock, which I didn't run across while I was there. Obviously you can only launch boats here that you're able to lug from the parking lot. Maybe you can also dock larger boats here coming from somewhere else. I didn't see the dock, so I'm just guessing about that part.

Wapato State Park, Sauvie Island

If (like me) you aren't a boater or an avid birdwatcher, the list of what else there is to do here seems rather slim. The park's on an official list of state parks where metal detecting is allowed, I suppose if you aren't cool or sociable enough for birdwatching. The only hitch is that you can only do it in "developed" areas, which I think means the parking lot, the boat dock, the picnic area, and maybe the viewing platform at the lake. And if you find anything of archeological, historical, or substantial monetary value, you can't keep it. So I didn't see anyone taking the state up on these generous terms while I was there. Which is fine with me. Metal detector guys and their creepy white vans and molesty little moustaches always make me nervous for some reason.

Wapato State Park, Sauvie Island

If you'd rather do something useful and non-skeezy, there's always pulling invasive weeds. The local Soil & Water Conservation District organizes volunteer parties to do this in various places, including here. I like to imagine these things are total meat markets, full of earnest, do-gooding, highly attractive single folk, evenly mixed between genders. I have no evidence for this, so you may just want to sign up and check it out for yourself, assuming you meet the aforementioned criteria (so as to not lower the tone). And pull some nasty invasive weeds while you're at it, that being the ostensible point of the whole thing. Oh, and tell them I sent you. Maybe if they get enough volunteers they'll finally forgive me for voting against their tax base measure back in October '06. (It seemed like the right thing to do at the time.)

Wapato State Park, Sauvie Island

Fireworks are strictly verboten here, although judging by the size and prominence of the no-fireworks signs, it's possible not everyone plays strictly by the rules. So there's that, I guess, but fireworks aren't going on the list we're putting together. My attitude about fireworks varies: Sometimes I want to tell people to leave it to the pros, who have vastly better fireworks anyway. Other times I want to encourage them to be as reckless as they can, maybe play a fireworks drinking game or something, and to generally just hurry up and blow their hands off already. I think it just depends on what sort of mood I'm in at the time.

Wapato State Park, Sauvie Island

There seems to be at least one other thing to do here. When I arrived, there were a surprising number of cars in the parking lot. Two more arrived just after I did -- one of them a VW bus -- and the passengers looked roughly college age. While I wandered around the park I didn't encounter a single soul anywhere, and when I got back to the car the college kids were gone... somewhere, doing... something. I have no idea where they went or what they were up to. And even if I did know, I don't think I'd rat them out anyway.

Wapato State Park, Sauvie Island

Butterfly, Wapato State Park, Sauvie Island

Wapato State Park, Sauvie Island

Wapato State Park, Sauvie Island

Wapato State Park, Sauvie Island

No comments :