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In this episode, host Zach Urness revisits the Oregon Desert Trail, a challenging but beautiful route designed to open the eyes of hikers to the wonders of the high desert.Urness talks about why spring is a time to consider hiking or planning a short or long-distance trek along the 750-mile route that travels from just outside of Bend all the way t…
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In this episode of the Explore Oregon Podcast, host Zach Urness talks about the recently established Oregon Outback International Dark Sky Sanctuary — the largest such sanctuary in the world. The 2.5 million acre sanctuary, located east of Lakeview near towns such as Plush and Adel in southeast Oregon, becomes the largest dark sky sanctuary in the …
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In this episode, host Zach Urness takes listeners to the snowy wonderland of Willamette Pass, a great place to visit during the spring snow season. Even as the days get warmer and longer, there is still lots of snow on Oregon's mountain passes, which makes for a fun recreation season for skiing, snowshoeing and other activities. Urness highlights a…
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In this episode, Zach talks about the beloved and troubled slot canyon known as Oneonta Gorge.Named by a famous photographer of the 19th Century, this was once gem in the Columbia Gorge that featured an off-trail trip below high walls to a dramatic waterfall.But Oneonta became one of the first places “blown up” by early social media, particularly I…
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In this episode, Zach reposts an episode about visiting Oregon waterfalls covered in snow and ice.With heavy snow forecasted in the lower elevations of the Cascade Mountains this coming week, Zach decided to post a podcast he originally recorded four years ago that details the best places to ski or snowshoe to Oregon’s best waterfalls covered in sn…
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In this episode, Zach Urness talks about a ski or snowshoeing trip to ice-covered Paulina Creek Falls in Newberry National Volcanic Monument in Central Oregon. Urness details what makes the trip unique, including a snowy waterfall, alpine lake, high peak, hot springs and even a backcountry restaurant. He talks about when and how to do the trip, how…
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In this episode of the Explore Oregon Podcast, host Zach Urness talks with author Glenn Voelz about the rise of Oregon's search and rescue, from the pioneer age to the modern era.Voelz is author of the book "Oregon Search & Rescue: Answering the Call," which covers the state's best-known searchers, high-profile disasters and how both shaped modern …
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In this episode, Zach chats with Hoodoo Ski Area general manager Matthew McFarland. McFarland talks about a challenging 2023-24 season, the decision to allow more kids to ski for free and how to groom ski runs so they can be open with less snow than in the past. He also talks about the economics of running a smaller ski area that serves as a "feede…
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In this episode, Zach talks about some of the latest Oregon outdoors news including: -The latest $85 million verdict in the class action wildfire trial against PacifiCorp-How hot Oregon was in 2023 and the anniversary of the last Cascadia Subduction zone earthquake-A lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service for failing to suppress the Beachie Creek …
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In this episode, host Zach Urness talks to National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Burling about the most recent freezing rain event in the Willamette Valley. They discuss why the Willamette Valley and northwest Oregon is uniquely suited for impactful freezing rain events and ice build up, and what happens in the sky to create freezing rain. Z…
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In this episode, Zach Urness breaks down the incoming blizzard and beginning of winter recreation season, along with a feature on the glory and trouble of Umpqua Hot Springs. In the first half, Zach talks about the incoming snow, what impact it will have on winter recreation in Oregon and some suggestions for snowy places to travel. In the second h…
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In this episode of the Explore Oregon Podcast, host Zach Urness is joined by Hike Oregon's Franziska Weinheimer to pick their favorite destinations from the past year 2023. Urness and Weinheimer feature rafting trips, backpacking routes and snowy adventures with epic views in a podcast meant to help others plan their trips for the coming year.…
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In this edition, host Zach Urness breaks down the 10 biggest news stories in Oregon's outdoors and environment from 2023. Urness details some good news, such as the continued population growth of the western snowy plover from the brink of extinction, and some bad news, such as the closing of Salem Summit Company, with lots of news and analysis in b…
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In this episode of the Explore Oregon Podcast, host Zach Urness talks with guidebook author Matt Wastradowski about their favorite places for a combination outdoor adventure and meal or drink. They travel to every corner of the state, talking about some of the state's best brewpubs, cowboy diners and seafood stops that also happen to be near big mo…
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In this edition, Zach talks about the massive winter storm arriving in Oregon's mountains — and ski areas that have announced openings — along with the drinking water crisis in Sweet Home and Lebanon, new permits for Mount Hood and a variety of other news stories. Urness touches on how to explore the landslide-closed road on Cascade Head and visit …
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In this episode, outdoors intern Olivia Stevens transports listeners to what was once a booming logging town in northeastern Oregon. It was also a town where Black people lived and worked at a time when it was illegal for them to do so because of Oregon's racist laws. Now, 100 years after the founding of Maxville, a descendant's efforts to bring to…
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In this episode, host Zach Urness talks with outdoors intern Olivia Stevens about her experience exploring the Zumwalt Prairie Preserve in northeast Oregon. While the Zumwalt may not be the main draw for visitors to the Enterprise and Joseph area, its managers make a compelling case for taking the a remote drive there. Visitors to the prairie can h…
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In this episode, host Zach Urness forecasts the upcoming winter with state climatologist Larry O'Neill. The two discuss whether this winter will be rainy, snowy, dry or warm, and looked at how the El Nino weather pattern would likely impact the next few months. Specifically, the two talked about how the strength of this year's El Nino could determi…
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In this episode of the Explore Oregon Podcast, host Zach Urness talks with the godfather of sandboarding in Oregon and across the world — Lon Beale. They talk about how to get started sandboarding on the Oregon Coast and its dunes, why it's so much fun and how the sport started. Beale talks about some of the best places to ride, how the sport has a…
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In this episode, outdoors intern Olivia Stevens takes listeners through a Eugene author's unusual strategy to finishing the Pacific Crest Trail. Rather than the traditional experience of completing the trail from the borders of Mexico to Canada in one go, Bob Welch hiked the 2,650 miles in 17 chunks over 11 years. Welch recently published a book ab…
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In this episode, host Zach Urness talks about why fire investigation reports from the devastating 2020 Labor Day Fires still have not been finished or released by Oregon officials. Zach was interviewed about his in-depth reporting on the subject by Dave Miller, host of Think Out Loud on Oregon Public Broadcasting. They talk about where the investig…
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In this episode of the Explore Oregon Podcast, host Zach Urness breaks down Oregon's 2023 wildfire season and puts it in prospective compared to recent years. Zach details the acres burned, homes lost and air quality impact around Oregon, along with the biggest fires of the year and big takeaways from the season. Then he talks with Alex Robertson, …
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In this episode of the Explore Oregon Podcast, host Zach Urness and outdoors intern Olivia Stevens talk about some of the best things to do in the Wallowa Mountains. Olivia highlights overlooked campsites, cultural sites and museums and some new hikes in northeast Oregon's Joseph-Enterprise-Wallowa Lake area. Then, Zach posts a full episode that br…
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In this episode of the Explore Oregon Podcast, host Zach Urness and outdoors intern Olivia Stevens walks listeners through a unique experience on Wallowa Lake in the remote northeastern town of Joseph. A small, family-run company out there recently became a viral sensation after a social media influencer posted a video paddling through the glacial …
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In this episode, outdoors intern Olivia Stevens brings listeners to Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area to watch and listen to one of Oregon's most majestic animals — Roosevelt elk. Jewell Meadows, located in the Coast Range east of Seaside, is popular place where visitors can see up to 200 elk in one visit. Stevens highlights the sound an elk makes while…
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In this episode, Zach talks with University of Oregon astronomy professor Scott Fisher about the upcoming "ring of fire" solar eclipse. The annular eclipse, while not quite as dramatic as the 2017 total solar eclipse, will showcase the moon blocking the sun in Oregon beginning at 9:13 a.m. on Oct. 14 and traveling across a wide swath of the state. …
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In this episode, Zach breaks down how to boat camp at Waldo Lake in a year when many campgrounds and roads are still closed due to last year's Cedar Creek Fire. While two of the campgrounds at Waldo are closed, you are allowed to load up a canoe or kayak with camping equipment and head to "dispersed" campsites that dot the lake's shoreline. Zach ex…
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In this episode, Zach talks to Sisters district ranger Ian Reid about the spectacular recreation and plans for new trails in this Central Oregon town. They start by focusing on the Three Creek Lake — one of Oregon's best base camps for adventure. They talk about how to best plan a trip, where to camp, fish and hike, along with detailing some potent…
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In this edition, host Zach Urness and intern Abigail Landwehr talk about a visit to Bohemia Mountain and a festival honoring its rich past.Southeast of Cottage Grove, the name of the mountain is probably best known for the town-wide annual celebration. Every summer, Bohemia Mining Days attracts a number of people from across the state and further. …
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In this episode of the Explore Oregon Podcast, Zach updates the status of the Mount Jefferson Wilderness this summer and breaks down a glorious three-day backpacking loop about a glorious three-day backpacking loop. Then, he plays an older episode that highlights all the best places to hike and backpack in the Jefferson Wilderness while detailing t…
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In this episode of the Explore Oregon Podcast, Zach talks about the glory of rafting the Lower Deschutes River with expert boater Jared Linkhart.They talk about how the high desert scenery, big rapids and riverside campsites make it the state's most popular rafting trips and how to make it happen — either with an outfitter or by running your own bo…
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In this episode of the Explore Oregon Podcast, Zach looks at a billion-dollar plan that involves using "fish taxis" and "fish Disney Worlds" to save endangered spring chinook in the Upper Willamette Basin. The plan centers on moving salmon around dams with massive trucks, and allowing the fish to spawn in the upper river that in the past was blocke…
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In this episode, Zach and outdoors intern Abby cover a wide variety of outdoor news including:-The reopening of Waldo Lake and the Breitenbush Highway, and what it allows access to, including Hawk Mountain-The sad news of Salem Summit Company planning to close-Same-day camping reservations at Oregon’s state parks -Perhaps the oldest site of human o…
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In this episode of the Explore Oregon Podcast, Zach talks with City Cast Portland about the upcoming wildfire season and why fire danger has suddenly skyrocketed to high levels after a wet and snowy winter. Zach also breaks down some of his favorite places to hike in wildfire scars, tells the tale of how Don Myron escaped the Labor Day Fires by she…
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In this edition of the Explore Oregon Podcast, host Zach Urness and intern Abigail Landwehr talk about one of the most beautiful but troubled spots on the Oregon Coast — God's Thumb, also known as The Thumb. The basalt peak that juts above the ocean north of Lincoln City has become an extremely popular destination but the hike to its top is unoffic…
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In this edition, Zach talks with southern Oregon expert Ryan Ghelfi about backpacking in the wild and beautiful Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains of southwest Oregon and extreme northwest California.It’s an ideal year to backpack in the area due to wildfire danger that’s lower than it has been in many years, following California’s historic snowpack that h…
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In this episode of the Explore Oregon Podcast, Zach and guidebook author Franziska Weinheimer pick 10 of their favorite backpacking trips for late June, July, August and September as the high outdoor recreation season gets underway. The trips recommend include shorter and longer backpacking routes, from 15 to 55 miles in length, in the Wallowa, Elk…
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In this episode of the Explore Oregon Podcast, Zach talks with Leo Rosen-Fischer, expert of recreational tree climbing in the Pacific Northwest and owner of Tree Climbing at Silver Falls. They talk about exactly what recreational tree climbing is — using ropes, a harness and other equipment to ascend high up old-growth trees — before detailing the …
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In this episode, Zach and Charlie talk about the curious case of Saddle Mountain State Natural Area — one of the state's most beautiful peaks and hikes that has been closed frequently the past three years. The episode includes an interview with park ranger Eric Crum, who explains the difficulty in reopening the park's trail and the reasons for the …
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In this episode, Zach and journalism intern Charlie Gearing focus on the glory of Oregon's kokanee salmon. The landlocked sockeye salmon have become increasingly popular for anglers for a number of reasons — mainly that they're delicious and easier to catch. Zach and Charlie talk with two expert kokanee anglers about the fish's backstory — how thes…
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In this episode of the Explore Oregon Podcast, Zach and outdoors intern Charlie Gearing talk about the glories of the Crooked River.They talk about why it's one of the state's best fly-fishing streams while also highlighting the area's hiking, camping, boating and even bungee jumping. On the subject of fly-fishing, Charlie interviews Jeff Perin of …
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In this episode of the Explore Oregon Podcast, Zach talks with Smith Rock State Park manger Matt Davey about big changes coming to one of the state's most iconic places. The park's master plan is being developed that will bring changes to parking, hiking, camping and drone use a place increasingly popular for rock climbing and hiking. Davey outline…
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In this episode, Zach talks about the latest developments in Oregon's Labor Day Fires. He details a mega trial that began this week that pits victims of the fires against Pacificorp — the utility whose power lines are blamed for igniting some of the fires and bringing widespread destruction. Zach also updates access to areas burned areas in the fir…
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In this episode of the Explore Oregon Podcast, Zach talks with noted guidebook author Matt Reeder about the best spring hikes in every corner of the state and his latest book, "Extraordinary Oregon! 125 Fantastic Hikes Across the State of Oregon." Zach and Matt talk about 10 of the best but over overlooked spring-specific hikes in the state. They t…
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In this episode, Zach talks with two raft guides about one of Oregon's most famous stretches of whitewater — Hell's Corner Canyon on the Upper Klamath River. This summer will be the last chance to raft the segment of whitewater during summer before dam removal makes future trips different, and perhaps impossible, during the year's hottest months. P…
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In this episode of the Explore Oregon Podcast, Zach talks to Oregon State Climatologist Larry O'Neill about the incoming El Niño pattern and what it means for the state, in addition to an overarching discussion about Oregon's climate future. O'Neill touches on the differences between the La Nina pattern Oregon has been under, and the El Niño one th…
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In this edition of the Explore Oregon Podcast, Zach talks about why it's so important to enjoy Oregon's robust snowpack and long ski season before rounding up a few good spring break travel ideas and highlighting some recent outdoors news. Zach details how Oregon's ski areas are staying open through April and even May this year due to a good snowpa…
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In this edition, Zach heads to the ancient forest of the Salmon River hiking trails between Portland and Mount Hood. Zach talks about the easy, medium and difficult way to explore one of Oregon's most spectacular old-growth temperate rainforests. The podcast highlights Wildwood Recreation Site and Salmon River hiking trails heading into the Salmon …
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In this episode, Zach talks to Eric Davis about how to go snowboarding on the Oregon Coast after a rare coastal snowstorm. Snowboarding is very rare on the Oregon Coast, but Davis has made it happen twice now, including last week, when he went snowboarding at Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area with his 5-year-old daughter and captured some unique phot…
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