Explore a rich mixture of blended nature and outdoor sculpture that is in harmony with one another on this seventy-two acres of natural restoration. Enjoy trails through various small ecosystems that include bogs, ponds, a forest wildlife and several surprises along the way. You will also be experiencing the early decades of what is to be a five hundred year plan.
Founded over fifty years ago by Chuck Pettis, this sanctuary is a restoration of nature in progress. The seventy-two acres has two main ecosystems; wetland and forest. Interspersed with the natural elements are outdoor sculptures and designs. There are two entrances to the sanctuary, one from Emil Road and one from Newman Road. This description will will be form the Newman Road entrance as this is where the self-guided naturalist tour begins.
The Newman Road parking lot has room for about six vehicles. There is a port-a-potty and a kiosk. This is on private land and there is a fee for parking: $7 for a day or $35 for an annual pass. There is a metal box to the left of the kiosk to deposit the fee, checks, cash or credit cards can be used. There are also maps available that can be used for free if you return it when you are done or purchased for $1.
From here you explore the Wetland Trail which includes spurs to the ponds. Along the way there are the surprises in sculpture of the Dolmen, Labyrinth and many small whimsical artifacts that pepper all of the trails. Join the main trail once again and explore some of the trail off-shoots that take you to the Cottonwood Stone Circle of twelve eleven foot upright stones. A short distance from here is one of two Medicine Wheels. The Wetland Trail is a good place to see waterfowl and other birds: bald eagles, owls, wood ducks, swallows, great blue herons and even a nesting pair of osprey. On the reptile and amphibian side look for newts, frogs, bull frogs, toads, salamanders and snakes. Mammals include: muskrat, chipmunks, river otters, beaver, squirrels and deer.
Surrounding the ponds, fens and bog is an over story of big leaf maple, Douglas fir, cedar, spruce, madrone, alder, yew, cottonwood, hemlock and many more including some exotic transplants. Since the sanctuary began there has been over 3,000 trees planted.
In the relatively small space that the sanctuary encompasses there is a rich experience that one's senses will not be able to take in without taking time to look around at the details. A few of the other sculptures include the Fen Stone Circle, Veils of Reality and the Infinite Tower. By continuing on the Wetland Trail working your way to the east and the Stupa near the parking lot at the Emil Road entrance. If you retrace your way back to the Newman Road entrance you are sure to see natural and manmade objects you missed coming in. As there are so many experiences to be had, consider taking a look at their website before you go.
Access Notes: Dogs are not allowed. There are port-a-potties at both entrances. There is ADA accommodations at the 5536 Emil Road entrance parking lot to the Stupa. At the 2059 Newman Road entrance parking lot the ADA accommodation includes the Dolmen, Labyrinth, Cottonwood Stone Circle and sections of the Wetland Trail. The Sanctuary is a good all season system of trails. During the wetter seasons there can some muddy sections of trails.