Friends of Tryon Creek Explore · Learn · Protect Fri, 22 May 2015 22:52:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Friends of Tryon Creek invite you to join our 2015 matching gift opportunity! Wed, 20 May 2015 18:01:03 +0000 Presented by the John D. Gray Friends of Tryon Creek State Park Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation, your gift will be tripled in support of Outdoor Education programming.


The Friends of Tryon Creek must secure matching donations to release John D. Gray’s gift, please help us achieve his vision by making a donation today. The impact of your generous gift will be tripled by this matching opportunity, thanks to John D. Gray.

For example, a gift of $150 triggers a $300 match gift and results in $450 going to Environmental Education at Tryon Creek.

Gifts can be made conveniently and securely through our online form below. Thank you for your Matching Gift to the Friends!

If you are having trouble with the online form below, please follow this link.

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Discover the Forest through Photography Tue, 19 May 2015 23:35:12 +0000 _DSC0053

Outdoor Photography Classes with Outdoor Viewfinder

Saturday, Jun 6, 2015

10:00 am3:00 pm

Don’t miss out on a great opportunity to improve your knowledge of outdoor photography at Tryon Creek State Park with Jason Waicunas of Outdoor Viewfinder! A series of three one-day classes takes place during the spring, summer, & fall seasons, which offers you the chance to photograph a wide-range of subject matter, which includes close-ups of flowers and plants, water features, forest patterns, and wide angle views of the landscape. Jason will be teaching the artistic side of outdoor photography and providing technical information with an emphasis on proper exposure and composition. Whether you barely know how to use your camera or are an advanced photographer stuck in a creative rut, Jason will help get you on the way to making better photographs! Within one week of each completing each class, you will receive a free online critique of your photos. You can register for just one class or for all three at a special discounted rate!  Classes are likely to fill up, so make your reservation soon!

$99 per class for Friends of Tryon Creek Members.
$110 / per class for Non-Members

This class is part of a series of three classes which take place on June 6th, August 9th and October 24th. *A special rate of $285 is available for all three classes.  (Register by June 1st to receive this rate!)

To register or for more information:  Contact Jason of Outdoor Viewfinder at or by calling 503.705.6769.

Jason’s Biography:

Jason has been a professional photographer for the past 20 years, working for a wide-range of clients and employers and covering everything from architecture to environmental events. Under the name, “Outdoor Viewfinder” Jason is an Oregon-licensed guide who teaches photography classes and leads tours to some of the most beautiful locations in the Pacific Northwest. His interest in outdoor photography began when he was 12 years old, when he took his first solo hike and made his first “real photos.” Since then, he has hiked countless miles with a camera, which includes hiking from Mexico to Canada along the Pacific Crest Trail in 2005. The use of a camera has enabled Jason to develop a personal creative vision that depicts what he sees in a person, place, object, or a particular moment. His style of photography is balanced by the use of color, dramatic lighting, and the element of gesture in tandem with a defined sense of composition. Jason’s inspiration to work as a photographer is his love for the medium, sharing photos, and the anticipation of making the next photograph.  In his “spare time”, he is the event director of Pacific Crest Trail Days.

For more info on Outdoor Viewfinder or to view Jason’s work, please visit
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Nature Day Camp Registration is open! Tue, 21 Apr 2015 21:41:24 +0000 ReadingToCampers
Our Summer Nature Day Camps camps are a fun way for kids to actively challenge their minds and bodies and use their creativity and imaginations in a natural setting. Each camp offers unique, age-appropriate activities that expose children to new and exciting outdoor adventures in a safe and friendly environment.

Here are the top three reasons to choose our camps this summer:


Real Ecological Experiences:

  • While experiencing fun and adventure in the forest, campers will be picking up a wealth of ecological knowledge.
  • Staff members are educated in the biological sciences and have a contagious passion for nature.
  • The fun hikes and hands-on explorations are grounded in engaging scientific practices. Our programs focus on a child-centered process of discovery that will prove incredibly enriching for your camper.
Fun for All Ages:

  • Campers as young as four years old can attend our Nature Day Camps and start developing a love of nature and curiosity for the natural world.
  • Children ages four through 5th grade can attend our half- or full-day camps located here at Tryon Creek State Natural Area.
  • Teens can participate in our Assistant Counselor program and work alongside the camp staff, gaining valuable leadership and teaching skills.

Highly Qualified Staff:

  • Our day camp instructors are professional environmental educators who come to us with a great mix of experience working with kids and ecological training.
  • FOTC instructors go through a lengthy interview process and background check, attend a week-long training and are first aid and CPR certified.
  •  All of our instructors are enthusiastic to share their passion for nature with your camper! 

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Nature Store at Tryon Creek State Natural Area Mon, 20 Apr 2015 20:16:54 +0000 20150412-41190

The purpose of the Nature Store is to generate revenue for educational and volunteer programs. The items that can be purchased afford our guests an experience that goes beyond the time they can spend at our park by offering selections that allow self-guided, continued learning and nature exploration in alignment with the mission of The Friends of Tryon Creek.

NS01The Nature Store features a variety of resources including wildlife and plant identification guides, hiking, native gardening for habitat manuals and historical books. The Nature Store carries locally produced and crafted items such as Nature Surroundings earrings, hand-carved hiking sticks, and much more!

We offer visitors items to remember their trip to Tryon Creek State Natural Area: souvenirs such as custom Klean Kanteen tumblers, magnets, mugs, note cards, children’s toys and games that inspire wonder and discovery of the natural world. Maps and visitor information can also be found here. Stop by the Nature Store and find everything needed to have a great time at Tryon and natural areas beyond!



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Plants in our Habitats: Native Lilies of the Tryon Creek Watershed Mon, 13 Apr 2015 18:13:48 +0000 Our beautiful forest is regionally recognized for the abundance of blooming trilliums we see in late March and early April. The Western Trillium (Trillium ovatum) is certainly worthy of its current celebrity, but there are a number of other native lilies that deserve recognition here for their beauty and significance.

The lily family, Liliaceae, is a large family that includes common edibles such as onions, garlics, leeks, and asparagus. These plants are mostly perennial and regenerate each season from rhizomes, bulbs, or fleshy roots. They are one of my favorite plant families to discover in the forest or plant in my yard as they often have large and beautiful flowers.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Clasping Twistedstalk

Streptopus amplexifolius


This plant derives its name from its zigzag stem and bent flower stalks. The flowers are greenish-white and they have a neat appearance as the petals curl up and away as the flower matures.

False Lily-of-the-Valley

Maianthemum dilatatum


On a stroll along the Middle Creek Trail, one can find a plethora of False Lily-of-the-Valley growing on the uphill side, away from the creek. This plant prefers moist and shady areas, but its flowers are still spectacular. They are white and clustered, rising on a stalk above the heart shaped-leaves.

White Fawn Lily

Erythronium oregonum


There are a couple of theories as to how this plant got its name. Some believe it is because the mottled leaves are reminiscent of a fawn, while other accounts suggest that the name came from the similarity between its lance-shaped leaves and the big, rigid ears of a fawn. The white flowers hang down with the petals bent back.

Nodding Onion

Allium cernuum


I chose this lily species for the parking strip at my house. Nodding onion prefers open sunny areas with rocky or sandy soil. When it flowers, the pink bell-shaped flowers appear in beautiful clusters.

Common Camas

Camassia quamash


Camas is a great plant for rain gardens. It has beautiful purple flowers, but is perhaps best known as it was an important food source for indigenous peoples. The cooked bulbs could be eaten right away or made into cakes and dried for later use.

False Green Hellebore

Veratrum viride


This lily can be seen along the Maple Ridge Trail. Its big, striated leaves and long stalk earned it the moniker, corn lily. It is a beautiful plant, but perhaps the most poisonous in our forest. Ingesting this lily can lead to a loss of consciousness and death.

This list is but a brief introduction to some of the lilies native to the Pacific Northwest, it is by no means exhaustive. Other native lilies to look for are Hooker’s Fairybells (Disorum hookeri), False Solomen’s-Seal (Smilacina racemosa), Chocolate Lily (Fritaillaria lancelota), Tiger Lily (Lillium colombianum), and Bear Grass (Xerophyllum tenax).

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Wapato Nature Walk Mon, 09 Mar 2015 20:00:32 +0000

Join a Park Naturalist for Morning Guided Walks at Wapato Access Greenway on Sauvie Island. These informal walks will focus on the local natural and cultural history, a peek at the rare oak savannah habitat and beginner birding basics. We will walk the trail around Virginia Lake, which is approximately 2 miles long. Walks will occur the third Saturday of each month. Bring binoculars and a water bottle. Meet in the parking lot at Wapato Access Greenway. For additional information or questions call 503-636-9886 ext. 225


To reach Wapato Greenway parking lot travel from the bridge onto the island, continue north on Sauvie Island Road, past the intersection with Reeder Rd, past Ferry Road boat ramp turnoff, to the marked parking lot on the left.


June 20th, 2015 8:00 AM   through   11:00 AM
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Wapato Nature Walk Mon, 09 Mar 2015 20:00:14 +0000 0 Wapato Nature Walk Mon, 09 Mar 2015 19:59:42 +0000 0 Legacies of Tryon – How Obie’s Bridge Got Its Name Mon, 09 Feb 2015 23:26:59 +0000 IMG_7536

View from Obies Bridge – Tryon Creek State Natural Area

The legacy of Tryon Creek is all around us. As we hike through the canyon we are taking a stroll through history, both geological and cultural. Indeed, even the bridges are a testament to the rich history of this park. Have you ever wondered where Obie’s bridge got its name? The story begins over 90 years ago.

Tryon Creek has an equestrian lineage that dates back to the great depression. During this time Mountain Park, Westlake, Dunthorpe, the South Shore Area of Lake Oswego, and our canyon were part of a vast network of interconnected equestrian trails. Digging deeper into oral histories we discovered that The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built one of these trails, a stretch from Dunthorpe to Englewood. If you imagine the concurrent impact of logging in the park, you can imagine that horseback riding in the Tryon Creek canyon was not for the faint of heart. According to past riders, “there was a log slide where they used to slide logs down to the creek. This thing went down really steep and at the start was a little bench that you had to jump down a couple of feet and you would just start sliding until you got clear down into the creek canyon. There was no turning around! I mean it was so steep you couldn’t possibly turn around. You just had to keep going. The horses seemed to do ok…my horse did it…You had to be pretty brave to do it” (Anonymous). The trails were all named, including the challenging “three jump trail.”

These routes were also used by riders in the Oswego Hunt Club. The Oswego Hunt Club would sponsor Sunday Paper chases in which, small pieces of paper with fox scent would be placed throughout the park. As the hounds would chase the scent, “it would be like a fox hunt only with paper trails and there would be false trails to go off on them only to have to turn around and come galloping back” (Anonymous).

Riders from the Oswego Hunt Club and the Englewood Neighborhood served as some of Tryon Creek’s first trail builders and maintenance crews. Englewood resident and horseman, George Herman Oberteuffer, was renowned for his dedication to this first system of trails in the park and as such, Obie’s bridge is named for Mr. Oberteuffer’s contribution. Mr. Oberteuffer had a son in 1919, William H. Oberteuffer. William “Bill” Oberteuffer sat on the Friends’ original steering committee in 1969, whose efforts were directed toward establishing a non-profit organization which could promote the park and coordinate efforts between local governments. Bill was a high school teacher, Mazama, OSU Professor, Ranch owner, and a recognized expert in sustainable forestry. Bill passed away in September 2006, but the contributions of the Oberteuffers to this park will never be forgotten.

By Matthew Collins, Education Director 

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Nature Inspired Abstract Drawing with local artist, Stacey Thalden Tue, 23 Dec 2014 21:46:36 +0000 0