Traveling along Lorane Highway earlier this summer, the sign for the Andrew Reasoner Wildlife Preserve caught our eyes. After a quick Google search on our smart phones we realized we had just discovered another place to explore in Lane County.
The Andrew Reasoner Wildlife Preserve protects almost 300 acres of oak savanna, through a conservation easement to the McKenzie River Trust. I love oak savannas — grass lands dotted by humongous oak trees — but they are becoming increasingly rare in the Willamette Valley.
We logged just about 3 miles while exploring the gravel roads and more obvious trails through the preserve, with elevation gains of about 500 feet. With four chatting people and 3 dogs (on leash of course) we obviously didn’t see a lot of wildlife, but we heard many birds. If I was a birder I’d be out here in the morning with my binoculars.
We were surprised to see many Ponderosa pines among the oak trees. I have since learned that early explorers to the Willamette Valley found large, native Ponderosa pines growing in the oak savannas. There is even a special race of Ponderosa pine which once flourished in the Valley.
Though the public is welcome to the preserve, this is private land. The owners, Doug and Linda Carnine, request that people call before visiting, that all dogs remain on leash, and that the gate into the property isn’t blocked. I can attest that the parking area for the preserve is incredibly small.
Finally, while I like to think that people who read this blog know this already, I have to say, if you carry something in, carry it out. Please be respectful of this private land that we have been given access too.
For directions, and information on how to contact Doug and Linda before visiting, see the McKenzie River Trust website.