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Lincoln City's Guided 'Exploriences' of Cascade Head Take You Into Wilds of Oregon Coast

Published 4/27/24 at 5:05 p.m.
By Andre' Hagestedt, Oregon Coast Beach Connection

(Lincoln City, Oregon) – Soaring above the central Oregon coast town of Lincoln City, Cascade Head is a former volcano that has now formed itself into an unmistakable landmark. Those shapes at the northern edge of town can only be one place and always recognizable from any photo. (Photo Alex Jordan / Cascade Head Biosphere)

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Now, the area is getting its own set of Explorience events: those immersive programs that open up grand new aspects of the Oregon coast experience.

Explore Lincoln City is excited to introduce the newest addition to its popular Explorience programs: the Cascade Head Biosphere Explorience. This engaging 90-minute walking tour invites visitors to explore Oregon’s sole UNESCO Biosphere Region, offering a 10,000-year glimpse into the natural history of this extraordinary coastal area where land meets sea. Accompanied by a knowledgeable naturalist, participants will delve into the distinctive flora, fauna, and geology of the Biosphere Region, discover groundbreaking conservation initiatives along the Salmon River, and uncover the rich heritage of the Nechesne people - the original inhabitants of this land.

The Cascade Head Biosphere Explorience joins Explore Lincoln City’s suite of Explorience programs, which includes six additional hands-on learning events led by local experts. These programs enhance visitors’ experiences during their time in Lincoln City.

Designated in 1976 by the United Nations Man and Biosphere Programme, the Cascade Head Biosphere Region spans 102,110 acres along the central Oregon coast. In 2017, it was reauthorized with its current boundaries. This unique ecosystem encompasses the Salmon River and its estuary, a sandy spit that's squeezed between two headlands, densely wooded uplands, a two-mile basalt headland adorned with native coastal prairie, and a marine reserve extending westward into the Pacific Ocean. Abundant and diverse wildlife, including endangered species, thrives in this protected and managed region, overseen by a collaborative effort involving agencies, non-profits, businesses, and local residents.
Kim Cooper Findling, Director of Explore Lincoln City, said she's thrilled about the new additions that explore a place that has “ a diverse ecosystem filled with hundreds of extraordinary species and natural wonders located right here in Lincoln City's backyard.”

The partnership between the agency and Cascade Head Biosphere Collaborative means a new way to enjoy the area that is quite enriching: you're getting a local guide.

“Cascade Head Biosphere Explorience outings are led by local biosphere expert, Margery Price,” Explore Lincoln City said. “Price is a master's student studying geology and has a passion for creating outdoors education opportunities for all ages. She has led and designed various geoscience lessons and field trips throughout Oregon and helped script and present salmon education videos with the Cascade Head Biosphere Collective.”

2024 Cascade Head Biosphere Explorience Dates:


Photo Alex Jordan / Cascade Head Biosphere

Wednesday, May 1, 2024
Saturday, May 11, 2024
Saturday, June 15, 2024
Thursday, July 11, 2024
Sunday, August 11, 2024
Friday, August 23, 2024
Saturday, September 14, 2024
Saturday, October 5, 2024

Cascade Head Biosphere Explorience outings are led by local biosphere expert, Margery Price. Price is a master's student studying geology and has a passion for creating outdoors education opportunities for all ages. She has led and designed various geoscience lessons and field trips throughout Oregon and helped script and present salmon education videos with the Cascade Head Biosphere Collective.

The Cascade Head Biosphere Explorience participants will meet at Knight County Park at 10:30 AM on select dates from May through October. The park is located at the mouth of the Salmon River Estuary and is also adjacent to the Cascade Head Nature Conservancy hiking trail. Visitors will be guided on a fascinating journey down a small watershed through an upland Sitka Spruce forest, tracing the fresh waters of a tributary to the Salmon River as they move across the land and into the fertile estuary itself where fresh water meets salt water. The area to be visited includes the Cascade Head Scenic Research Area, Cascade Head Experimental Forest, the Cascade Head Preserve, and the Cascade Head Marine Reserve and Marine Protected Areas.


Photo Alex Jordan / Cascade Head Biosphere

Duncan Berry, Co-Director of the Cascade Head Biosphere Collaborative, said this is about sharing the beauty and significance of the area, not to just those of us in modern times but also the First Nation that were its guardians in the past.

"We also acknowledge and honor the Nechesne Peoples of the Salmon River, the original inhabitants of these lands. The Cascade Head Biosphere Collaborative pledges to work with their descendants, including the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde and the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians, going forward in inclusion and collaboration, to mutually benefit this shared place,” he said.

Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes, bring water, sunscreen, and a jacket. The Cascade Head Biosphere Region is a protected wildlife sanctuary — no hunting, camping, fires, bicycles, removal of foliage, or dogs (even on a leash) are allowed. The presence or scent of dogs in a habitat such as the Cascade Head Biosphere Region may force wild animals to leave their homes, both temporarily and permanently — so visitors need to leave their four-legged friends at home.

Weather conditions may impact dates and times — when that is the case, visitors should check the Explore Lincoln City Facebook page for updates.

For more information about the Cascade Head Biosphere Explorience: https://www.explorelincolncity.com/events/exploriences/biosphere-explorience/

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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