Oregon may not get talked about quite as much as, say, California or Florida or New York, but all things considered it’s one of the most interesting vacation destinations in the U.S. It’s a beautiful state with plenty to offer the average traveler – including the opportunity to do some good while you’re there.
A Trip To Preserve National Parks
Oregon is home to some of North America’s finest natural expanses and parks. Crater Lake National Park is perhaps the most famous of the bunch, and is one of two national parks in the state (along with Three Sisters), but there are other state parks and preserved areas well worth going out of your way for. In fact, according to a database on exactly these subjects, there are 110 state parks, multiple state forests and hatcherys, and 16 national wildlife refugees across the state. Some of the best, aside from Crater Lake, include Valley of the Rogue River, Ecola State Park, and the Oregon Dunes (which almost look like something from another planet).
Seeing these areas in a purely recreational sense can in a way be considered a brand of eco-tourism. That is to say, these places are so beautiful that some who travel to them will undoubtedly be newly inspired to take action to protect nature. However, you can also do your part to uphold these areas of natural beauty while on your vacation.
Put simply, visitors to Oregon (or full-time residents for that matter) can sign up for trail stewardship projects, through which they’ll help to maintain the trails through some of the incredible parks mentioned above. It keeps the parks nice and easy to navigate, which in turn allows more people to visit and enjoy them – which, of course, is ultimately good for conservation. It’s recommended to devote one day to stewardship for every 20 days of hiking, for locals, but if you’re passionate about doing your part for the environment you can devote the bulk of a visit to the state to trail maintenance. Best of all, you get to enjoy the parks while you do it!
While You’re There
While helping to maintain national and state parks can be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, it’s almost a shame not to enjoy other things the state has to offer as well. So, if the type of trip alluded to above appeals to you but you’d also like to do some more ordinary tourism, here are a few things to check off your list while you’re in Oregon.
Tour Wine Country – This is another way to enjoy the pure natural beauty of the state, but it’s less about environmental preservation and more about indulgence. Wine country in Oregon is about as good as it gets, save perhaps parts of California and Washington. You can try wonderful wines, tour spectacular vineyards, and generally relax in places you may not ever want to leave. Among the best wineries to visit in Oregon are King Estate Winery, Erath Vineyards Winery, and Argyle Winery
Eat & Drink In Portland – Suffice it to say, Portland has one of the biggest foodie and craft brewery scenes in the United States. Indeed the city is known to have been somewhat ahead of trends like craft breweries and even food trucks, and still offers some of the best of both.
Enjoy The Sports Scene – Oregon is somewhat unique on the sports landscape. For one thing, it’s one of the few states (along with Delaware, Montana, and Nevada) where sports betting is legal, which brings some extra atmosphere to the events. Additionally, it’s the location for Nike’s headquarters, and you can tour parts of the area to better understand the world’s leading sports brand. But in Oregon you can also see the University of Oregon’s incredible, Nike-backed facilities and witness some of the best crowds in American sports at Portland Trail Blazers (NBA) and Timbers (MLS) games.
Visit Museums – You can find interesting museums in any state, but Oregon happens to have a somewhat surprising array of different subjects at theirs. You can check out the High Dessert Museum, devoted to the natural history and art of Oregon; the Museum of Science and Industry, for all things related to physics and natural science; the Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum, which is what it sounds like; and even a sort of museum designed to display the history of the famous Oregon Trail.
Mix some of these activities up with your environmental efforts and you’ll be sure to love your time in the Beaver State!