Wander the Wetlands of West Eugene

EUGENE, Ore. — Conservation efforts are paying off. The wetlands in many areas are disappearing, but they’re thriving in west Eugene.

You don’t have to travel far to enjoy wildlife. You can find hundreds of species of plants and animals right here in Eugene.

Susanna Hamilton and Lindsay Raber are environmental educators with WREN, the Willamette and Resources Educational Network. They know the wetlands and what you can find.

On an outing Tuesday, it didn’t take long to locate a mallard and a swallow. Closer to the ground–acres of grasses and a Nootka rose native to wetlands.

Not far from the Fern Ridge Path, we also found signs of beavers.

“This beaver has been industrious this spring,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton says one den, which looks like a mess of twigs and branches, has been destroyed at least three times by floods this spring. Each time it’s been rebuilt.

Beavers are nocturnal, so you won’t often see them in action. But early one morning, Hamilton caught a glimpse.

“The beaver came swimming around and you got to see it dive in and swim up to where its den is,” Hamilton said.

Another sign–dams, which are essential to ecosystem.

Other animals you can spot on the trails are raccoons, minks, river otters, skunks and foxes.

The west Eugene wetlands cover 3,000 acres, and it’s free to explore. And for anyone needing guidance, WREN staff is available to show you what to look for. In addition to guided walks, they also offer binoculars so you can check out the scenery.

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