This past month (August 2022) I travelled to Oregon for a few days to help my daughter get moved into her apartment for her junior year at Reed College. Most of my time was spent putting together IKEA furniture, but I did manage to squeeze out a 4-hour chunk of time to go play POTA. So, after studying the POTA map page I decided that I'd drive out to activate Rooster Rock State Park (K-2850) along the Columbia River.
The Columbia River area is an activator's "dream spot." In Washington I have activated a "2-fer" (a state park within the boundaries of a national forest) a few times. But this was my first "5-fer" primarily due to the confluence of 3 national historic trails. The park references are:
- K-2850 - Rooster Rock State Park
- K-0731 - Columbia River Gorge National Forest
- K-4576 - Oregon National Historic Trail
- K-4572 - Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
- K-3424 - Ice Age Floods National Scenic Trail
After a brief 2-hour activation I had 42 QSOs in the log, but since it's a 5-fer it counted as 210! It was a nice break in the day. I wish I could have spent longer, but I wanted to get back to Reed before Rush hour.
Rooster Rock State Park is about 20 miles east of Portland on Interstate 84 at Exit 25. It is a day use only park, so you have to check the website for times. The parking area is massive, and numerous picnic tables that line the bank of the Columbia River. It's very easy to simply park, setup your kit on one of the many picnic tables and get on the air while watching eagles soar, large white herons stalk for prey in the tidelands, an occasional river barge pass by as the mighty Columbia River flows towards the Pacific Ocean.
The trees along the bank are not tall, so a wire antenna is probably not the best choice here. I almost always use a Buddipole dipole antenna for my POTA activations, and there is ample space for a dipole or vertical antenna. There are also picnic tables and pavilions (available to rent) in areas away from the river with trees of sufficient height if you need a tree to raise your wire antenna.
Visitors will need a day pass ($5 USD) or an annual Oregon Park Day Use Parking Permit. There are numerous (flush) toilet facilities in the park, a ranger station, lots of trails, and for anyone who feels the need to operate a ham radio and activate a park in the nude there is a special section of the park where clothes are optional.
I was there on a weekday, and the park was relatively empty. I suspect with the park's close proximity to Portland, the beautiful setting, a popular place for windsurfing/kite boarding, boating, fishing, hiking, etc., this place is probably pretty busy on weekends.
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