We spent Veteran's Day Weekend in the Bandon area, staying in a yurt at Bullards Beach State Park. We did some short hikes in the area and one of them was at the Storm Ranch unit of the New River Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). What is an ACEC? From the BLM:
New River is a 1200-acre Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Special management is required by ACECs to maintain diversity and quality habitat for native communities of plants, birds, animals and fish. New River ACEC also provides protection for cultural sites and offers educational, interpretive, and recreational opportunities to the public.
There were no other cars when we arrived. We started the loop on the North Trail:
We saw quite a few mushrooms:
Most of the trail was pretty brushy and forested:
And then we got a view of the New River itself. It actually kind of looked like a lake. We could hear the surf on the other side of the dunes. From the BLM: "According to local lore, New River was formed during the great flood of 1890. Water raged into these lowlands, carving a new northbound channel for the usually docile Floras Creek. A local rancher took a look and exclaimed "It's a new river!" And so New River was born."
According to William Sullivan, New River "isolated the beach so well that smugglers ferried $17 million of marijuana bales ashore in 1977." I didn't see THAT bit of history on any of the BLM signs!
Further along the trail there was a bird-watching structure at Muddy Lake, but there wasn't much bird activity:
There is a side trail to an old cranberry bog, along which we saw a newt!
This started out as a natural bog and settlers transformed it into a cranberry bog around 1914. But it was abandoned around 1950 and has "regained its natural character", as the sign put it. Fun fact: cranberry bogs are still common in this area and Bandon has a Cranberry Festival every September.
Back at the car we were still the only people on site. This was a nice little stroll! There are three other units in the ACEC that we didn't get a chance to check out: Lost Lake, Fourmile Creek, and Floras Lake. The loop we did is only about 2.5 miles and very family-friendly. The signs are a little dated and the brochure and trail map are done in Comic Sans ( ), but it's better than nothing.
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Yet another reason why William Sullivan is one of my favorite outdoor writers, and why you are one of my favorite trip report posters!According to William Sullivan, New River "isolated the beach so well that smugglers ferried $17 million of marijuana bales ashore in 1977." I didn't see THAT bit of history on any of the BLM signs!
Thanks for yet another informative and entertaining report!