Oregon’s Darlington State Park is a rare and unique park, whose staff is dedicated to preserving certain species of flowers, and protecting their natural habitats. The park, sometimes referred to as the “Darlingtonia State Natural Site” is a one-of-a-kind Oregon state park property. It is especially dedicated to the protection of the Cobra Lily.
Darlington State Park is a botanical park which is comprised of 18 lush and thriving acres of wildflowers, canes, and grasses. There is no cost to enter the park and free vehicle parking is also provided. This makes the area an ideal destination for many families and individuals who are searching for a fun and educational outing, but who must work within a budget. The park features a boardwalk trail that reaches out to into a fen where the celebrated Darlingtonia californica–cobra lilies–live. These rare, uniquely-shaped plants make up the entire pitcher plant family within the state of Oregon.
The Botanical Gardens of Darlington State Park
Upon their arrival at these rich botanical gardens, visitors will notice the yellowish green hooded leaves that form the cobra lilies. Cobra lilies have purplish red leaves and thick stems which can grow as tall as 20 inches in some cases. Some of the cobra lilies have flowers that feature purple and yellow petals, which are surrounded by pale-colored sepals. The botany enthusiast will want to visit the park in the spring when these flowers are in their fullest bloom. Orchid’s and California lady’s slipper can also be seen in abundance, and strict rules are enforced prohibiting visitors from cutting or removing any of the plants or flowers in the park. Collecting cobra lily samples is an activity which is against the law in the state of Oregon.
Picnicking and Hiking
Those who enjoy a scenic overlook while having a classic picnic lunch will enjoy the clean and spacious area that Darlington Park provides for this activity. Families have access to cook-out grills, which are available on a first come first serve basis.
For families who enjoy hiking or nature walks, the many scenic trails in the park are an ideal location in which to enjoy these activities. Patrons may wish to bring a camera along on their walk or hike, as they will discover some extraordinary scenery along the way. Guests should dedicate a full day for this activity if they wish to see all the park has to offer.
Scenic Overlook and Waterways
An amazing assortment of vegetation can be seen from the Darlingtonia Natural Site, and these include spruce, shore pine, cedar, and rhododendron. From this lookout point, one can see the entire spectrum of plant and wildlife species that are protected by the park. Enchanting waterways flow through the park as well, which only add to the elegance and beauty of the landscape. Interpretive signs are featured throughout the area, which provide families and individuals with detailed information on the park’s plants, wildlife, and history.
In other designated areas of the park, sections exist that are specifically used for the sport of wildlife watching. These are areas where one will undoubtedly wish to bring binoculars in order to fully experience this activity. Depending on the time of year, guided sightseeing tours are available for those who enjoy professional narration when observing plants and animals in their natural habitat.
Rich in both beauty and history, the Darlingtonia State Natural Site offers something for everyone, as pleasant activities are available almost any time of the year within the park area. Committed to remaining a fee-free park, Darlington exists on donations from local friends and philanthropists who agree with the park’s mission of preservation. Anyone with the slightest interest in nature and conservation of endangered plants and animals will find visiting this park a rich and rewarding experience.
The park is opened 365 days a year, and one may obtain further information, by calling 1-800-551-6949, or visiting www.stateparks.com/darlington.html