Red Alder (Alnus rubra)

The red alder (Alnus rubra) is a deciduous tree native to the U.S. Pacific Northwest that has proven important to both Native Americans and wildlife in the region. Its range extends from southeastern Alaska to southern California, generally within 125 miles of the ocean. This tree is a pioneer species that establishes rapidly in openings created by forest disturbance, including landslides, logging or fire.

Red alder is one of many trees in the U.S. Pacific Northwest used by Native Americans. The bark was used for dyeing basket material, wood, wool, feathers, human hair, and skin. The wood is low in pitch, which makes it a good wood for smoking meat. Native Americans also used the bark to treat many health problems from insect bites to lymphatic disorders.

For wildlife, red alder provides an important deciduous component in the predominantly coniferous forests found in the region. Most of the seeds remain on the tree well into the fall and winter months, providing valuable resources for birds, insects, and mammals when other foods are scarce. Beavers eat the bark and build dams and lodges with the stems. Red alder trees also provide valuable nesting for birds and thermal cover for black-tailed deer and other wildlife.

Oregon estuaries are rich with many species of clams, although only a few of these species are commonly harvested. Gaper, butter, cockle, littleneck, and softshell clams are primarily harvested due to their abundance, size, and taste. A wide variety of other bivalve species are found in Oregon estuaries, but are not commonly harvested due either to their scarcity or lack of palatability.

Clamming is a great family activity and you can get started with tools you already have in the garden.  Successful clamming does require some knowledge and preparation. Before clamming, harvesters should be aware of weather, regulations, closures, responsible harvest, and techniques. This video produced by Travel Oregon provides important information about how to clam in Oregon.

Courtney Flathers, Intern

The past five months have passed quickly and my internship with Oregon Sea Grant/OSU Extension is coming to a close. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to learn more about tourism and business development on the South Coast, and I look forward to utilizing my new knowledge and skills after I graduate from the Master of Public Policy program at OSU next month.

I want to take this opportunity to highlight a few of the projects I’ve worked on as an intern and share some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned.

One of my primary tasks during my internship was to compose several fact sheets on issues related to tourism and outdoor recreation development on the South Coast. This included fact sheets about Agritourism in Oregon’s Coastal Counties, Transient Lodging Taxes on the Oregon Coast, and the Impact of Tourism & Outdoor Recreation on Oregon’s Economic Landscape. Through researching these topics I learned about how state and local policies intersect with tourism and outdoor recreation development efforts at the local level. There is a surprising amount of variability among local governments as it concerns tourism-related policies, which means that trying to sort through the specific requirements to develop or expand tourism operations can be a complicated process. For this reason, I think it’s really valuable that there are people like Miles in positions with OSU Extension/Oregon Sea Grant who can provide education and training for community members who might be interested in getting involved in this area to improve our overall economy.

As an intern I also had the opportunity to participate in the Southern Oregon Coast Rural Tourism Studio presented by Travel Oregon. I enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about the potential for additional tourism and outdoor recreation development in this region, and to learn about the tools and resources provided by organizations including Travel Oregon and the Oregon Coast Visitor’s Association. We have an abundance of natural assets in our region and I am excited to see what projects develop out of the Rural Tourism Studio process.

Southern Oregon Coast Rural Tourism Studio Group Photo

Finally, I spent a significant amount of time researching and writing new material for this tourism blog. Entries included announcements about upcoming training and education opportunities, brief posts about plant and animal life on the Oregon Coast that tourism providers can share with their guests, and links to valuable resources for those working in tourism on the Oregon Coast. This is also where you can find links to the documents I helped create during my time as an intern.

I am thankful for the opportunity to spend the last five months as an intern working on a variety of challenging, yet interesting, projects. In addition to learning more about the tourism and outdoor recreation industry, I was able to learn a great deal more about the services provided by OSU Extension and Oregon Sea Grant that can be utilized in partnership with local individuals, businesses, and organizations to bolster coastal communities. I look forward to carrying these, and many more, lessons with me into the future.

Kayaking on the South Slough near Coos Bay on the last day of my internship