Category Archives: Stories

Communing with My Adopted Eagle Family—one Smith Rock Wildlife Photographer’s Story

Guest blogger Jack Wills has a special connection to wildlife, and they to him. A self-described “semi-professional” photographer, Jack has decided to focus on them specifically for the last 15 years. The result is an amazing portfolio with images that make you feel a part of his “Animal Kingdom” experience.

Jack Wills Photography website
Jack Wills Photography website

We were fortunate to run into him hanging out with his bald eagle family here at Smith Rock the other day. In addition to sharing some of his images from the day, he shared his story of what makes the park so special to him as a wildlife photographer.

Up Close and Personal with George Lepp and the Bald Eagles of Smith Rock

George Lepp is serious about capturing bald eagles, photographically speaking.

Two years ago he spent 12 weeks and over 80 hours documenting a pair of bald eagles from hatching to fledging. After watching the 10-minute movie in the Welcome Center he made of the process, we wanted to learn more about George.

George Lepp photographing bald eagles at Smith Rock State ParkSome of his credits include Field Editor for Outdoor Photographer Magazine and a Canon “Explorer of Light,” which features the industry’s most influential photographers.

His images have appeared in some of the world’s most widely viewed venues and on the covers of many books and magazines too numerous to list here.

At Just 16 This Smith Rock Climber is One to Watch

Drew Ruana is not one to brag about his accomplishments. Humbled by others, he barely acknowledges his recent feat of being the first to climb the hardest route at Smith Rock State Park, The Assassin.

Drew Ruana on Assassin link up at Smith Rock State Park
Drew Ruana on the Assassin link up at Smith Rock State Park, photo courtesy of Drew Ruana

Soft spoken and radiating his love for the sport that has captivated him for 13 of his 16 years, Drew is a breath of fresh air in this era of self-importance.

His mantra? “Don’t be afraid to go in for something that’s way over your head…it’ll come together eventually.”

The Books in The Bivy Have a Story to Tell

If you’ve been around The Bivy campground communal area lately, you might be wondering where the “Little Free Library” came from. Turns out, there’s quite a story behind this box of stories. guest blogger Becky Fromm takes us on her nomadic journey that started in March of 2015.

Watch her “library in the making video,” then read on. Her words and pictures reveal the inspiration behind her donation to Smith Rock State Park.

Bloom Wagon logoSpreading Happy in the Bloom Wagon

by Becky Fromm