Dalton Lake Nature Preserve

A map indicating the boundaries of the Dalton Lake Nature Preserve.

The Dalton Lake area has been designated as the “Dalton Lake Nature Preserve” after a series of meetings held during the week of Oct. 14, 2019.

The area has been overseen by the St. Helens Parks and Trails Commission, the City of St. Helens, and the Oregon Department of Transportation under a Cooperative Management Agreement since 2009. The Preserve is bordered by the Columbia River and the Rutherford Parkway between St. Helens and Columbia City.

The Dalton Lake Nature Preserve Advisory Committee was established last summer by a group of citizens who have taken a keen interest in the area. Members of the Committee include: Lynne Pettit, Chip Bubl, Debra Brimacombe, Patrick Birkle, Paul Barlow, and Lona Pierce.

The purpose was to provide an area within our community, that preserves the unique geological and botanical attributes of this area. Establishing this Preserve enhances the livability of our community and provides aesthetics, recreational, and educational opportunities for our current and future citizens.

The first phase is to build and install kiosks, trail signs, plant identifier signs, interpretive markers, a bike rack, and a doggie bag station. Items will be installed at the North entrance near the St. Helens Water Filtration Facility in Columbia City and along the path following the Columbia River. Grant writing is underway to purchase the bike rack from Cycle Columbia County.

Guided Saturday walks through the Preserve are being scheduled now by Patrick Birkle. The first one will be Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. They will meet at the parking lot near the Columbia Humane Society on Oregon Street.

Future projects include: ADA trail enhancements, wood viewing platforms, bird blinds, and swallow and bat houses to help with mosquito control. A side note to this: 130 species of birds have been documented by private parties in the area.

Additionally, the Committee would like to connect the Dalton Lake Nature Preserve trails to the north end of St. Helens, to increase access to the Preserve for bikes as well as hikers.

Rules to be posted will be: No Camping; No Fires; No Hunting; No Firearms; Dogs. Must be on a Leash; Hours: Dawn to Dusk; and Pack it In – Pack it Out, to leave the Preserve cleaner than how you found it. Additionally, the Preserve will have signs that note private property lines. It is of utmost concern that Preserve visitors respect these property owner boundaries.

A Facebook page has been developed and named “Friends of the Dalton Lake Nature Preserve” and will follow the Guidelines of the City of St. Helens-Friends of the Park Programs. The page will show upcoming events, comments, and photos of the area.

The Friends and Committee will partner with SOLVE and other interested groups for maintenance and other projects.

For further information regarding Dalton Lake Nature Preserve or to get involved, please contact Advisory Committee Chair Lynn Pettit at 503-819-2046 or lynnepettit@hotmail.com.

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