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Camp Polk Meadow Preserve

Central Oregon, Oregon

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Camp Polk Meadow Preserve

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  • Great horned owl (Bubo virginianus).- Camp Polk Meadow Preserve
  • Giant ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa).- Camp Polk Meadow Preserve
  • Camp Polk Meadow Preserve.- Camp Polk Meadow Preserve
  • View of the Hindman Barn (built in 1871) from across the pond.- Camp Polk Meadow Preserve
  • Common cattail (Typha latifolia).- Camp Polk Meadow Preserve
  • Male red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus).- Camp Polk Meadow Preserve
  • Female red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus).- Camp Polk Meadow Preserve
  • Male red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus).- Camp Polk Meadow Preserve
  • Cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus spp.).- Camp Polk Meadow Preserve
  • Camp Polk Meadow Preserve.- Camp Polk Meadow Preserve
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Camp Polk Meadow Preserve
  • Wild turkey in the distance at Camp Polk Meadow Preserve.- Camp Polk Meadow Preserve
  • Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloid).- Camp Polk Meadow Preserve
  • Female red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus).- Camp Polk Meadow Preserve
  • Oregon swallowtail butterfly (Papilio oregonius).- Camp Polk Meadow Preserve
  • Oregon swallowtail butterfly (Papilio oregonius).- Camp Polk Meadow Preserve
  • Field lupine (Lupinus nanus).- Camp Polk Meadow Preserve
  • Whychus Creek .- Camp Polk Meadow Preserve
  • Camp Polk Meadow Preserve.- Camp Polk Meadow Preserve
  • Camp Polk Meadow Preserve.- Camp Polk Meadow Preserve
  • Redstem storksbill (erodium cicutarium).- Camp Polk Meadow Preserve
  • Western blue flax (Linum lewisii).- Camp Polk Meadow Preserve
  • Camp Polk Meadow Preserve.- Camp Polk Meadow Preserve
  • Yellow salsify (Tragopogon dubius).- Camp Polk Meadow Preserve
  • Camp Polk Meadow Preserve.- Camp Polk Meadow Preserve
  • Camp Polk Meadow Preserve.- Camp Polk Meadow Preserve
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Bird watching. Wildflowers.
Cons: 
Deschutes Land Trust guided tour required to visit a majority of the preserve.
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Region:
Central Oregon, OR
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
No
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Team

The Camp Polk Meadow has long been a unique wetland oasis in the Central Oregon high desert landscape, and fortunately nearly all of the 151-acre meadow has been under the protection of the Deschutes Land Trust since 2000.

The meadow encompasses a roughly 1.5 mile stretch of Whychus Creek, one of the Deschutes River's primary tributaries.  Prior to alteration by ranchers as early as the 19th century, the meadow was the most active riparian area for salmon and steelhead spawning along the Whychus.

Camp Polk, located on the western edge of the meadow and built in 1865, was one of nine army outposts in the District of Oregon intended to protect settlers against conflicts with Native Americans.  Specifically, its location and primary function was to oversee safe passage on the Santiam Wagon Road, a freight and toll road that was originally the primary route between the Willamette Valley and Central Oregon.  With no native conflicts, however, the camp was ruled obsolete and was disbanded a year later in 1866.  Not long after, the meadow was used for ranching and settlement by the Hindman family, and their barn built in 1871 still stands as the oldest structure in Deschutes County.

Today, after being saved from residential development and after impressive restoration efforts, visitors to the meadow will be awed by the impressive collection of birds and wildlife that call this desert sanctuary home, not to mention the tall stands of ponderosa pines, groves of aspen, and willow shaded springs.

Note: The western edge of the meadow is open year-round to visitors, but to hike and explore the majority of the preserve you must be accompanied by guided tours provided by the Deschutes Land Trust.

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Nearby Camping + Lodging

(46 within a 30 mile radius)

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(143 within a 30 mile radius)

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