Ain't nuthin like ridin' a fine horse in a new country - Augustus McCrae – Lonesome Dove

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Protected Species & Invasives~

Saying hello :-)
Saturday already!  No way!   Part of the attraction of camping - the three "R's"!  Rest, Relax & Refresh!  Then of course, that most important fourth - Riding!
South out one of the dune trails~
We were used to star studded, cold nights & waking to sunshine mornings.  The winds usually didn't start until mid-day.  We also tried to time our rides to reach the beach with the tide on the way out - to have that width of wet compacted sand.
Snowy Plover Zone~
The Rangers told us of the efforts to protect the Snowy Plover nesting sights.  On this day - the Wrangler of the rental horses took her riders through our camp.  She stopped to talk when I asked the riders if they were having a good time, all responded "Yes"!  Except for the Wrangler - who told us that several of the trails they had used for many years were now closed - due to the Snowy Plover.  She believed that the birds were already gone for the season - yet the trails were still closed.  So sad - when there's so few places for people to rent a horse & ride the beach.
We ride the sandy shore of the inlet~
Since the plover prefers the ocean dunes, we could still ride along the edge of the bay.  The thing I noticed the most - was the proliferation of Scotch Broom...  If the concern is for nesting sights - I think the Scotch Broom is destroying more of that habitat than a few horses in a dude string.  In just the few years we've been visiting this park - we all noticed that the Scotch broom is literally taking over!  
Scotch Broom Everywhere~
It was incredible to see areas that used to be sand - now covered with acres of the blooming weed.  Then - just a short way up this shore line I saw another nasty invasive just starting to root in the sand - Japanese Knotweed...  Here again - this is a plant that can do so much destruction to our Northwest native plant environment. 
Native grasses can't compete with the invasive...
 Looking down the bay towards town, we could just see two riders playing in the water.
Kites & wake boards~
With the tide going out, we had miles of fun trotting, galloping & running into the wind!   I was surprised to see a few kites, which we had to dodge on our gallop.

Later that afternoon, the Ranger came by our camp.  I mentioned the kites & he explained that they were not allowed - the Snowy Plover perceive them as birds-of-prey.  He said they were short staffed, but would go out & ask the kite flyers to take them down.  I actually hope the kites don't come back to this beach...
The Campbell Family~
Later in the afternoon, our friends came by for dinner & a visit!  Bruce was best man at our wedding - so our friendship goes back longer than we've been married!  Jessica has just graduated & will be attending Portland University!  We tried to catch up on all the news - but there's never enough time!  Super way to end a wonderful vacation!

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