New River Nature Center

The New River Nature Center includes the former Storm Ranch next to the New River in southern Coos County, Oregon.  Now managed by the Bureau of Land Management as part of the New River Area of Critical Environmental Concern, the Nature Center provides trails and opportunities to experience the New River, where creeks draining the dune lands have joined into a river flowing northward inside the foredune for ten miles, from Floras Lake to the south side of Bandon.

It's near milepost 283 on US 101 on the Oregon Coast.  Follow Croft Lake Road for two miles west of the highway, past working cranberry bogs.

About 3 miles of trails offers access to this forested dune land and the New River running through it.  I saw spruce, shore pine, madrone, myrtlewood, and alder trees.  Understory plants included fifteen-foot rhododendrons, wax myrtle, salal, huckleberry, and many more.  The variety of insect life was striking, with dragonflies aplenty, butterflies, and green-and-white-striped ground-hugging bees.

I enjoyed the views of the forest, the New River, and the ocean.  Muddy Lake teems with life, and the natural bog that was used for cranberries 100 years ago makes a fascinating contrast with the modern farm bogs in the surrounding area.

Read more at the Discovery Guide, Hands on the Land, OregonLive, Outdoor Project, and Wikipedia.  View images at Google Image Search.

Begun 2017; updated 2022.