Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge has a new nature trail available for hikers.
The one-mile Myrtlewood Grove Nature Trail begins just north of the Bandon Marsh office, located at 83673 North Bank Lane — near the Bandon end of the road. Hikers can park in either of two available parking areas to access the trailhead.
Marsh officials say the new trail is family friendly and rated as an easy hike. The trail has a natural, sometimes muddy surface and includes two connecting loops on a short spur from the trailhead. Hikers can choose a shorter half-mile option if they want.
The trail begins in a forest with mature Sitka spruce and western hemlock with a thick green understory and a small freshwater pond. The trail then goes through a meadow that is part of a restoration from pasture to coniferous forest. The center of the trail includes a small grove of old myrtlewood trees, which are sprouting young saplings.
The trail also has a bench and an opening that looks out on the Ni-les’tun Marsh and the Bullards Bridge.
Among the wildlife hikers might see are red-shouldered hawks, dark-eyed juncos, black-tailed deer and rough-skinned newts.
Visitors also can check out the other improvements at Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge parking lot on the north side of North Bank Lane includes access to the new Ni-les’tun Marsh overlook with views of the marsh.
Visitors also can see a native pollinator garden designed to attract birds, bees and butterflies. Volunteers not only helped create and tend the new trail, but they also designed, planted and tend the garden, which will be in full bloom in the summer.
The new refuge office was completed in November, but is not open to the public due to the pandemic. Hikers are asked to follow all state and local guidelines regarding social distancing and COVID-19 safety protocols.
For information or questions regarding accessibility, call the refuge during business hours at 541-347-1470.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The agency is a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for its scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service.