A good reason to get outdoors

We have often said that Oregon’s natural beauty rivals that of most anywhere in the world. From its high desert to its mountain peaks, from its lush valleys to its beautiful ocean beaches, there is something for everyone, and a number of different levels on which to enjoy it.

For those who need a little extra motivation to get out of the house and take in the great outdoors, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is offering a bit of an incentive this weekend. As a kickoff to summer, all 258 state parks will have free camping and day-use parking as part of an annual tradition known as State Parks Day. Camping is free on June 1, and parking in 25 day-use parks that normally charge a fee will be free on both June 1 and 2.

So if camping isn’t your thing, make the time to simply drive to a state park scenic viewpoint and take in the wonder of nature — it’s pretty much free entertainment, and in our opinion, always time well spent. Getting outdoors just seems to have a rejuvenating effect.

And that’s not all that lies in store this weekend. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is also holding its annual free fishing weekend. That means that no one needs to have a fishing license on Saturday and Sunday, June 1-2 — but all other regulations apply, including bag limit and size restrictions.

Maybe those fishing skills are a bit rusty, or maybe they never existed in the first place. Perhaps you don’t want to fish but you would love for your children to have the experience. If that’s the case, you, too, are in luck this weekend. There are two free fishing events taking place in Lincoln County on Saturday.

Anglers and their families are invited to come out to Olalla Reservoir near Toledo from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. — because of limited parking at the reservoir, a shuttle will be running between Toledo High School and the reservoir every 30 minutes from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Or, from 8 a.m. to noon, families can fish at the Salmon River Hatchery near Otis.

ODFW will provide rods, reels, tackle and bait for the day. People who prefer to use their own equipment are welcome to bring it along. Volunteer fishing instructors will be available to help participants set up their gear, cast, catch and even clean fish — it just doesn’t get any easier than that. For more details and contact information for these events, go online at myodfw.com and click on the “Fishing” tab.

So whatever type of outdoor activity you enjoy, you should be able to find something to do this weekend. And if the weatherman is to be believed, there should be plenty of sunshine in which to do it. Enjoy!


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