Corvallis to the Sea Trail

Users of the C2C Trail should be aware of several restrictions. First, the trail restricts campfires to established campgrounds at Big Elk Campground near Harlan, and, eventually, at the Brian Booth State Park at Ona Beach. Two situations guide this restriction: 1) the absence of adequate water to properly extinguish the fire; and 2) the presence of the threatened species, the marbled murrelet (MaMu).

The presence of the MaMu has triggered C2C’s P.L.A.N.T. program: Please Leave Absolutely No Trace. The MaMu spends most of its life living on the ocean and feeding on small fish. However, once mature it flies as much as 30 miles inland to lay one egg a year in a depression on a moss-covered limb high in older conifers. The MaMu relies on nest location and secretive behavior to keep the nest site hidden. For one month the adults take turns incubating the egg or feeding at the ocean. Once the egg hatches, the adults leave the nest, but return near dawn and dusk to bring a fish to feed the young MaMu. After another month, the young MaMu drops from the nest and flies solo to the ocean to begin its marine life.

Adult Marbled Murrelets at Sea
Credit: Aaron Barna, USFWS Pacific

Civilization has gradually reduced the numbers of MaMu with losses due to gill nets entangling diving birds, oil pollution, and loss of stands of old conifers for nesting sites. The major threat to nesting MaMu is predation by corvids (jays, crows, and ravens) and this threat has greatly intensified with human presence. One major predation factor is the correlation of people and their litter as a food source for these predator species.

Adult Marbled Murrelet on Nest

Adult Marbled Murrelet on Nest
Credit: Nick Hatch, USFS, Pacific Northwest Research Station

To minimize the attraction of corvids along the trail route, we instigated the P.L.A.N.T. program. So, Please Leave Absolutely No Trace: no fruit peelings or cores, no energy bar wrappers, no fires, no exposed toilet paper, nothing but footprints. That will also make the trail experience more enjoyable for those who come after you.