#16 See Nature in Action

Fish Hatch

Feather River Fish Hatchery & Nature Center

When Oroville Dam was built, several miles of spawning grounds were no longer available to salmon and steelhead trout returning to their home stream to spawn. To compensate for this loss, the Dept. of Fish & Game and Dept. of Water Resources opened this state-of-the art facility.

The hatchery can accommodate 9,000 adult salmon and 2,000 adult steelhead. The incubators can hold 20 million eggs, and 9.6 million fingerlings can be reared in the eight concrete raceways. During their Fall-run (heaviest in September-November, but extending into February) the fish can be seen, through windows built into the wall, jumping the ladder-like steps leading to the gathering tanks, providing an aquarium-like view.

If you’ve never witnessed this life cycle, try to find time to watch nature in spectacular action at this official California Watchable Wildlife site.

Built of stone and sitting beside the river just across from the hatchery on Old Ferry Road, the 1930’s WPA bath house has been restored and converted into a Nature Center. Beautifully constructed from nature’s gifts, it’s our favorite structure in the county and a wonderful place to commune with nature during any season of the year. Picnic tables are provided along with the nature!

watchable-wildlife

Feather River Fish Hatchery & Nature Center Park
Off Tabe Mountaiin Blvd. at Feather River Crossing
Visiting Hours: 8am to Sundown
Fish Ladder opens the day after Labor Day.
Tours: (530) 534-2306

#17 Gifted With Gardens

Three of Oroville’s gardens are featured in Garden Getaways-Northern California (1989, Tioga Publishing Co.), which is quite a compliment for the city. “Closed off to the world outside its gates, the garden is a mystery from outside but a place of shelter and tranquility within,” is how the author describes the Chinese Temple Garden after listing dawn redwood, ginkgo, wisteria, bamboo, waterlilies, and other specimens to be enjoyed here.

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After discussing species in Sank Park, “…a rose garden…a trellised gazebo, and wide lawns with beautiful specimen trees… the garden today is ideal for strolling, sitting, and for more formal gatherings,” the author wrote.

One of the historic garden spots in Oroville is the former California Display Garden at Western Pacific Brewing & Dining. The garden was originally used to “greet and introduce” rail travelers to the huge variety of California fruit trees. After traveling through the snow in the Sierras, we bet they were impressed.to see avocados, palms, a fig, olive, persimmon, and pineapple guava. Little remains of the garden now, but you can use your imagination and understand the thrill that rail travelers once experienced.

And you just haven’t seen Spring until you view the 165 varieties of azaleas in April bloom at Minasian’s.

Chinese Temple Garden
1500 Broderick St.

Lott Garden in Sank Park
1067 Montgomery St.

Minasian Azalea Gardens
1681 Bird St.

Western Pacific’s Calif. Display Garden
2191 High at Oliver

#20 World Tour of Wildlife

You may have seen wildlife museums that contain a nice variety of area wildlife, but Oroville is home to one with over 100 “trophies” from all over the world. Many photographs taken during the hunts are also displayed, and in the cases surrounding the museum room is an outstanding and unique collection of firearms.

Huntington’s also has cases filled with memorabilia from Oroville’s past: antique bottles and many Indian artifacts, including an exceptional collection of baskets. It’s easy to see why it’s called “Northern California’s Most Unique Sportsman’s Store!”

Huntington’s Sportsman’s Store
601 Oro Dam Blvd.
(530) 534-8000
Hours: Mon-Fri 9-6, Sat. 8-5
Admission is free

#30 Fishing or Bird Watching

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Just outside the Oroville city limits are 11,000 acres of preserved natural beauty with ample opportunities for fishing enthusiasts and birdwatchers. Egrets, beaver and river otters are among the many animals found here.

Administered by the California Department of Fish and Game, the area is divided into two units: the 4,300-acre Thermalito Afterbay with its 26 miles of shoreline and the 5,700-acre Borrow Area Preserve. Bass, catfish, and crappie are found in both the ponds and the afterbay area, and salmon, steelhead, and shad can be caught in the river, twelve miles of which wanders through the Borrow Area section. Canoes or car-top boats can be launched in several spots along the river.

Some fishing restrictions are men-tioned on maps available at the entry points. There are campsites (no fees) in the southern half of Borrow Area.

The area is also popular with birdwatchers since it provides a year-round or seasonal home to 171 species of birds.

Oroville State Wildlife Area
Headquarters: 945 Oro Dam Blvd. W.Entrances off of Oro Dam Blvd. W.,
Hwy 70, Pacific Heights Rd, Larkin Rd., Vance Ave. & Palm Ave.
Maps available at Entry Points
(530) 538-2236