We have been able to visit most of the wildlife refuges that came up my computer screen with a similar google search, but I was not familiar with the Jackson Bottoms Wetland Preserves. So, that is where we headed this week. My 15-year-old twins’ friend Daryl had spent the night so we invited him and his mom Liz along for this adventure. I enjoy getting outdoors with other moms and kids.
From Portland it was a good 40 minute drive out Highway 217 and Highway 26. We began our adventure walking into the Clean Water Services building which shares a parking lot with the Jackson Bottoms Wetland Preserves. What a beautiful building and we welcomed the cold air inside.
The Wetland Preserves trail begins with a bridge crossing a little creek and the trail led us to a view of the Tualatin River. The trees and shrubs along the trail shaded our walk and there was signage along the way helping us know what trees and bushes we were looking at. We stopped along the way to read, well Liz and I did anyway. Out boys kept walking on this hot day, stopping and resting at the benches that lined the trails every so often along our adventure.
We walked to another look out called Vic’s Grove, named after Vic Madsen, who suggested a wildlife refuge be established at Jackson Bottom. Later we found a bird viewing area where signage again helped us determine what birds we were hearing and seeing.
Speaking of namesake, Jackson Bottom Wetlands is named after the line of people in the Hyer Jackson family. Born in 1806, Hyer Jackson obtained land in 1854 through the Oregon Donation Land Law. The area was used for a variety of purposes, including a sewer farm, which eventually had farmers up in arms as it polluted the Tualatin River. Thankfully, the area is now preserved for wildlife and natural enjoyment. The Friends of Jackson Bottom obtained non-profit status in 1997. Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve is now made up of 635 acres, a sanctuary for wildlife to live and people to enjoy. The meandering trails along the wildflower meadows marked by fir and ash trees attract a wide variety of birds, ducks deer, otters, beavers, herons and even eagles.
Speaking of eagles, the Wetlands Education Center, which was finished in 2003, houses an authentic Bald Eagle nest, the first
one recovered from the wild, and the only one of its kind in the United States that was built by eagles. I was surprised how tall and wide the nest was. My twins are 6 feet one inch tall and here we are in front of the nest. The air-conditioned education center had activities for kids — indeed, even our soon-to-be-sophomores in high school enjoyed the wood puzzles and other active games inside. There was a neat gift store with fun books and cards for purchase.
This day at the Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve was a great outing, a new outdoor adventure for all of us this summer.
Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve is located at 2600 SW Hillsboro Hwy, in Hillsboro. Visit the website for more info: