Storm Ranch (New River) 2-7-20

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Location: SW Portland

Storm Ranch (New River) 2-7-20

Post by bobcat » February 20th, 2020, 9:57 am

From 1945 to 1977, this piece of property just north of Floras Lake and south of Bandon was owned by the Storm family, who grew cranberries and ranched cattle here. A Santa Barbara concern purchased the property, reportedly cash down, and activities there soon became “cause of concern” for the local law enforcement officials, viz. access suddenly closed to fishermen, a parade of DUKWs passing through Bandon on their way to the ranch, and a mysterious Panamanian ship appearing offshore and signaling to the beach. In a joint operation, officials seized $17 million in marijuana as the DUKWs were passing between ship and shore, and the Coast Guard chased the ship with two boats, two helicopters, and a C-130 until the crew surrendered.

In the 1980s, the ranch was owned by Ann and Nancy Wilson, the leads in the rock band Heart (yes, “Barracuda” thrummed through my mind as I strolled around), who raised horses there. In 1987, they sold to the BLM, which oversees it as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern.

Shore pines, New River.jpg
Hoary manzanita bark, Ridge Trail, New River.jpg
Hoary manzanita (Arctostaphylos canescens), New River.jpg
Madrones, Ridge Trail, New River.jpg
Waxmyrtle tunnel, Ridge Trail, New River.jpg
Dunes, Huckleberry Trail, New River.jpg

A series of sandy tracks lead around the property, reaching the New River, a ten mile northbound channel from Floras Lake that was birthed in 1890 during a powerful storm. The foredunes across the river are a snowy plover nesting area and there’s an attractive mix of native vegetation, including shore pine, Sitka spruce, waxmyrtle, Port Orford cedar, madrone, hoary manzanita, and swamp vegetation in former cranberry bogs that are reverting to nature. Nice stopover if you're driving that section of 101.

Sitka spruce cones, Huckleberry Trail, New River.jpg
On the Ocean View Trail, New River.jpg
Evergreen huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum), Huckleberry Trail, New River.jpg
At the New River, Ocean View Trail, New River.jpg
White-edged polypore, Ocean View Trail, New River.jpg
Spruce boughs, Ocean View Trail, New River.jpg
Banana slug, Muddy Lake Trail, New River.jpg
Dark bog, Muddy Lake Trail, New River.jpg

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