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TKO’s Trails: Oxbow Regional Park

January 14, 2020

by John Sparks, Newsletter Editor, Trailkeepers of Oregon

Did you know that Oxbow Regional Park sits on top of a buried forest?

Several snags of dead trees line the steep bank of a river, while across the river is a forest of bright yellow fall foliage

Now exposed snags once buried by lahars from Mt. Hood’s 1780s eruptions line the bank of the Sandy River at Oxbow Regional Park. (Photo by John Sparks)

Walk to the bank of the Sandy River where it cuts into a thick layer of lahar from Mt. Hood’s Old Maid eruptions in the 1780s. The upright snags of a 240-year-old forest stand erect, while other dead trunks lean over the river. The flat bench of pyroclastic material which hosts Oxbow Park’s road and most of its facilities lies 30 feet above 1780 river levels. When Lieutenant Broughton of the Vancouver Expedition sailed up the Columbia River in 1792, he noted that a sandy bar extended almost all the way across the Columbia. Lewis and Clark, passing by the mouth of the Sandy in November 1805, looked up the river from its mouth and saw a stark landscape scoured and buried by the debris flows. They christened the watercourse the Quicksand River.

Six trail workers in hard hats and rain gear pose around a half-completed set of steps on a trail In a wooded area.

KC Jones, Gordon Hillisland, Yvonne Townsend, Guy Hamblen, Rick Schwarz, and Brian Emery participated in a box steps class at Oxbow in December 2019. (Photo by Kim Kovacs)

Trailkeepers of Oregon has hosted work parties at Metro’s Oxbow Regional Park with some regularity for the past several years. See Trailkeepers’ event page to sign up for a work party!

John Sparks: john.sparks@trailkeepersoforegon.org

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