US Department of Agriculture, Rural Development (USDA-RD) program recently launched a resource guide that supports recreational economies in rural America.

This guide provides rural community leaders and economic development practitioners a complete program list for the Rural Development program, Forest Service, and National Institute for Food and Agriculture.

Get one

Find this resource guide in a PDF format at
https://www.rd.usda.gov/sites/default/files/RD_Recreation_Economy_USDA.pdf

Pacific Madrone – (Arbutus menziesii)

While traveling in coastal Oregon watch for a tree with red bark and broad evergreen leaves. This tree is a Pacific Madrone.

Various conifer trees dominate the Coastal range but if you look you will notice the Pacific Madrone. Madrone is a broadleaved evergreen tree and a member of the heath family (Ericaceae).

It is distinguished by its smooth trunk, orange-red bar that peels when the tree is mature. The peeling bark reveals a green satiny, smooth stem.

Seed & Blossoms

Pacific madrone will grow to a height of 125 feet tall and may grow up to 4 feet in diameter. At three to five years old, it will begin to produce seed.

Trees begin flowering in early spring, from mid-March to May, depending on the elevation. The bell-shaped blossoms are dense, drooping clusters (terminal panicles) of small, white flowers.

The fruit is a berry (0.3 to 0.5 inches), that ripens in the fall, turning from yellow-green to bright red or reddish-orange. The berries were used by wildlife and humans for food, decoration, fish bait, and medicine.

The wood is used for furniture, flooring, turnings, paneling, veneer for hardwood plywood faces and core stock, pulpwood, and firewood.

Links & References

To get a PDF fact sheet about the Pacific Madrone from Oregon Department of Forestry see: https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Documents/ForestBenefits/PacificMadrone.pdf

Sacred Trees

For some more cultural/spiritual thoughts about the Madrone see http://www.arbutusarts.com/sacred-trees.html

“On the British Columbia West Coast, the Salish Nation also honors the Arbutus Tree as their ‘Tree of Knowledge’ because it knows how to find the sun. It twists and turns and somehow knows to drop one branch when there is not enough sunlight and it is shaded and it will grow a new one where the sun can reach it.”

Rough-skin Newt
Rough-skinned Newt (Taricha granulosa)

What do think of when you say the word Newt? Maybe you thought they were just a mythical made-up creature!

Well in fact the Oregon coast is home to this very interesting creature the Rough Skinned Newt!

Rough-skinned newts were named for their dry granular skin―most other salamander species have moist, smooth skin. A terrestrial adult newt has a brown head and back with a bright orange belly. They can grow to almost eight inches long.

Where Found

Through the non-breeding season, terrestrial adults live in forested areas along the coast and through to the eastern Cascade foothills. They find protection in or under soft logs.

For their size, newts migrate relatively long distances between breeding and non-breeding habitat. You may see them traveling during spring and fall as they migrate.

Toxic

An interesting study from Standford University reveals Rough-skinned newts harbor the same deadly toxin found in blowfish in their skin. A newt must be ingested to be toxic.

The newt emits an acrid smell that probably discourages most predators from tasting it. Except for Garter snakes which dine on the newts and have evolved resistance to the toxin.

Researchers report that in some areas, the snakes have somehow spurred greater toxicity in the newts through natural selection. Through this process the newts have increased their levels of resistance far beyond what the newts are capable of.