Heritage Expeditions…making extra ordinary connections

Looking for a unique vacation idea? Instead of going to Disneyland last summer, 34 persons opted to spend four days trekking the Old Santiam Wagon Road on the Willamette National Forest.

This summer the Willamette National Forest is offering three separate treks through history.

“A Trek Through Time” will be held July 15-19. Trekkers will discover the history, geography, geology, flora and fauna of the Central Cascades. Through this field study, trekkers will experience the culture and history of the native people who lived within and used this scenic landscape. The journey will take trekkers from rock art to indigenous travel routes, to upland gathering areas.

“Trekking the Old Santiam Wagon Road” is offered August 12-16. Trekkers will spend four days exploring the Old Santiam Wagon Road, a unique part of Oregon’s history. They will relive the 1859 Wiley party expedition that followed the Indian trail over the Cascades, which eventually became the Santiam Wagon Road, a major trade route between the Willamette Valley and Central Oregon.

“High Tech Potholes” September 10-13, takes trekkers from ancient lithic sites to 19th century teepee sites to 20th century peeled Alaska Yellow cedar and Mountain hemlock trees. They will learn how to use digital cameras and Global Positioning (GPS) units. They will study the culture and history of the people who used the landscape in the Potholes Heritage Complex.

Guides for the expeditions will include archaeologists, botanists, fish and wildlife biologists, geologists, and other professionals. Accommodations will be rustic camping for all three expeditions. Cost of expeditions range from $375 to $400 and includes tent, meals and activities. Reservations are on a first come first served basis with a maximum of 16 participants per session. College transfer credits are available for an additional fee.

Last year trekkers gave high marks to the program. Liz Webb of Eugene stated, “I’ve never attended a program this rich. It’s pretty astonishing.”

Barbara Newman, also of Eugene said, “We came thinking it was a hike with a little bit of history. It’s so much more. I don’t think you’ll talk to anyone who doesn’t think they got their money’s worth.”

Mike Dombeck, Chief of the Forest Service, honored the Sweet Home District with a National Award of Excellence for the 2000 “Trekking the Old Santiam Wagon Road” Heritage Expeditions.

The expeditions are offered under the Forest Service Fee Demo Pilot Program. Fees from the Heritage Expeditions fund protection and enhancement of local historic sites for public use and enjoyment and continuation of conservation education programs about history and archaeology.

To make a reservation, or to obtain more information about 2001 Heritage Expeditions, contact Joanne West, Sweet Home Ranger District, (541) 367-9206.

Sweet Home Ranger District Calendar of Events

April 7: Sweet Home Tree Fair and Expo. Contact: Alice Smith at 367-9215.

May 1: Forest Service campgrounds open (except Lost Prairie which opens mid-May). Contact: Lupe Wilson at 367-9232.

June 1: Wildflower Hike-“Tombstone Prairie”. Snowmelt species, easy two mile hike. Contact: Alice Smith at 367-9215.

June 9: Free fishing day and derby at Foster Lake. Contact: Wayne Somes 367-9219.

June 29: Heritage hike “Daly Lake-Judge Waldo”. Easy to moderate hike approximately 3 1/2 miles. Contact: Joanne West 367-9206.

July 7: Wildflower hike “Tidbits Mountain”. Moderate three mile hike, elevation gain 1,000 feet. Contact: Alice Smith 367-9215.

July 15-19: Heritage expedition “A Trek Through Time–Indigenous Travel Routes”. Four days camping, hiking, exploring (fee involved). Contact: Joanne West 367-9206.

July 27: Heritage hike “Santiam Wagon Road”. Fish lake to Lost Prairie, easy four mile hike. Contact: Joanne West 367-9206.

August 3: Heritage hike “Lava Lake”. Moderate five mile hike. Contact: Joanne West 367-9206.