Elk RIver

Elk River Hiksari’ Trail

Mouth of Elk River 1

A brand new paved trail follows the mouth of Elk River to the Bay opened recently. Its a pretty neat trail, and a good spot to observe nature close to Eureka. Its also a great spot to take a child to ride a bike, or someone who cant get around as well. There are public restrooms near the bayshore mall access.

Elk River bottoms 2

The path is more or less flat and paved with perfectly smooth blacktop. My only complaint would be the gravel placed on the road edge – which makes skateboarding a little more treacherous…but its still a really good surface for skating. From the Herrick Park-n-Ride the path meanders along the banks of Elk River. The bottom lands are dominated by grasses and willow patches, with occasional stands of red alder.

You also see the fringe between a city and nature. These areas were all used in the past for various waterfront industries – lumber most likely. Its good that these areas are becoming accessible open space along with restoring bottom land habitats. It will be interesting to watch these areas through the years as the trees get larger and the vegetation regime changes.

Coastal Lodgepole Pine

Look for the ‘shore pine’ AKA lodgepole on the new path between Shamus and the Park-N-Ride. Its the only 2-needle pine native to the western US. More from the silvics manual:

Coastal Race (var. contorta)- The thick-barked trees are relatively small, short-lived, and inherently branchy. Now mostly confined to marginal sites (muskegs, dunes, serpentine soils, rocky sites), this race pioneered forest succession in the Pacific Coast region at the end of the lee Age.

Scene of the Crime?

Your imagination can run wild with possibilities considering how and why this old truck ended up smashed into a old growth stump. Regardless, the ruins of mankind make for great habitat. The truck had been converted into a wood rat hotel, which is the preferred food of the spotted owl. And balance is achieved…