New River Area of Critical Environmental Concern

Category: General Article

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GPS Coordinates to the Ellen Warning Learning Center at Storm Ranch: 42.995944, -124.4569696

The New River Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) is a 1200-acre parcel of land administered by the “United States Bureau of Land Management”: http://www.blm.gov (BLM). ACECs are large-scale environmental programs found mostly in the western part of the United States. These areas are set aside and protected because they contain unique or vital habitats, threatened or endangered species, or human sites of cultural or historical importance.

Exploring New River

The New River ACEC contains four sites adjacent the Pacific Ocean and west of Highway 101 (the Pacific Coast Highway). These sites include:

Storm Ranch Trail System: The largest of the four areas, this area runs parallel to the Pacific Ocean for a total length of 9 miles (14.5 km). A large foredune separates the ocean waters from a wetland. To explore these natural wonders, Storm Ranch offers eight trails for a total of 2.3 miles (3.7 km) in length. Other recreational opportunities include boating, fishing, picnicking and wildlife spotting. Storm Ranch might be the best place to start your tour of the New River ACEC because the Ellen Warning Learning Center is located off the main parking lot and provides comprehensive interpretive resources to all the sites. GPS coordinates are listed above to this site.

Lost Lake Trail: (GPS coordinates to main gate: 43.023651, -124.436032) This trail is only 1.5 miles (2.4 km) leading from a small parking lot and winding through the dunes to the ocean’s edge. Despite the short length, please be aware that the end of the trail is through loose sand and may have steep inclines.

Fourmile Creek Trail: (GPS coordinates to parking area: 41.719844, -123.499225) The shortest of the New River trails, this is a mere 0.2 miles (0.32 km) and is often used as a portage area for canoes and kayaks. The environment is a unique wetland meadow.

Floras Lake Trail: (GPS coordinates to parking area: 42.902987, -124.501970) The southernmost site in the New River system, Floras Lake is a popular recreational area for anglers, hikers, picnickers and kayakers. The site is immediately adjacent to the Boice Cope County Campground so visitors can take advantage of the amenities of both locations. Trails run around the edge of the lake and also stretch across the dunes to a picturesque beach. The area is excellent for birdwatching as the presence of both fresh and salt water attracts in many species.

Notable Animals: Bald Eagle | Black-tailed Deer | Canada Goose | Western Pond Turtle | Peregrine Falcon | Roosevelt Elk | Western Snowy Plover

Notable Plants: European Beach Grass | Evergreen Huckleberry | Hairy Manzanita | Pacific Rhododendron | Western Hemlock

Related Feature: Lake Floras State Park