The Siuslaw River drains the heart of Oregon’s Coast Range. It flows for over 100 miles and is dam free. A spawning location for Coho and Chinook salmon, this is an important ecological watershed. This tour offers assistance from the tides. Putting in near Old Town Florence allows paddling by the busy docks with fishing boats and gawking tourists. Enjoying the subtle push upriver the route continues by lush forest and some interesting human history. A lunch stop is the perfect way to wait for the tide to switch. After some time it’s possible to ride the ebb on the way back to the original launching spot.
Some highlights include the bascule bridge of highway 101 in it’s art deco style. Also, there is a historic house called the Benedict house which is located on Cox island. This island is managed by the Nature Conservancy who are working to preserve the eel grass habitat. Of course there will be many species of birds, including phalaropes, whimbrels and dowitchers. Cox island has a population of muskrat, beaver, otter and mink. Finally, we may have a possible greeting from harbor seals! This river is lucky to have help from the Siuslaw Watershed Council and the McKenzie River Trust to help protect vast riparian areas. Click on the links to their websites to access a plethora of information on the watershed and to see how you can help them with a donation or some volunteerism.