Wildwood Park and Cascade Streamwatch
Article by: Mark Bachmann
This display portraying a school of Chinook salmon is one of the largest stainless steel sculptures in the world.
Cascade Streamwatch is an aquatic interpretive center on the Salmon River within the Wildwood Recreation Site, in the Hoodland community, Oregon. It is a cooperative project between environmental groups and the BLM brought into being during the late 1970's and early 1980's. It is located about 3/4 mile west of our store and is easily accessible from U.S. Highway 26. To some degree, Wildwood Recreation Site and Cascade Streamwatch are still evolving with much help from the local community. Wildwood is safe, friendly and exquisitely maintained.
The underwater viewing chamber was built as part of a side channel improvement project to help the propagation and rearing of young salmonid fishes. It is kind of like going to a zoo, but here the fish are wild instead of captive.
Wildwood Recreation Site and Cascade Streamwatch are managed by the Bureau of Land Management, an agency of the Federal government. Bisected by the Salmon River, Wildwood is a 500+ acre day-use area offering family picnic units, group day-use shelters, playing fields, Salmon River access trails, and walking trails. The historic Barlow Road, which crosses Wildwood, is an Oregon Trail site, easily accessible from U.S. Highway 26.
Signs such as this help you find your way around, and explain what you are looking at.
All trails are well signed to educate visitors about salmon and trout in the Sandy River basin. The site, with all of its amenities, was designed and built with the idea of bringing families to nature in the most pleasant, and safest possible way. There are kiosks and signs, as well as nature trails, sculptures and even an underwater viewing chamber where the lives of wild trout and salmon are portrayed in vivid detail.
Many feet of handicap accessible board-walks allow everyone easy entry into places where they wouldn't ordinarily go.
The trails through this park are all wheelchair friendly. There is even a bridge across the Salmon River and over a thousand feet of elevated boardwalk trails that give a unique view and access into a wild wetland.
Several young steelhead patrol the pool in front of the glass barrier in the viewing chamber. When first approached, there were many more fish visible. How many fish do you see? If you only see two fish, look harder.
Cascade Streamwatch is part of a joint venture between volunteer groups, government agencies and private corporations to enhance wild trout and salmon habitat within the Sandy River basin. From our perspective, these projects are having a positive effect, as there are many times more juvenile fish visible now than when these projects were started many years ago. Cascade Streamwatch provides a unique educational experience for both children and adults. It is also very relaxing and entertaining. Please check it out next time you come to fish in our area.
Three young steelhead live in a pool that is less than one foot deep. Many more are living under cover where they are less visible.
The picture above of three young wild steelhead in a tiny stream is indicative of a healthy ecosystem. The sharp increase of wild fish in the upper Sandy River basin is hard evidence that watershed stewardship works, and that we all get what we deserve, if we are diligent and work hard enough. What better lesson is there for future generations?