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There are no restaurants on the National Wildlife Refuge itself. However, there are a few establishments nearby that sort of qualify, and not much exists in terms of surrounding communities as the area surrounding the refuge is farm or forest land. Therefore, while the address for Hazelnut Hill is listed as Corvallis, it is really only just outside the borders of the refuge, while Corvallis is some 15 minutes away.
Located on highway 99W directly east of the refuge, Hazelnut Hill is a farm that operates a retail store featuring the treats that are grown, made, or made from items grown, right there on the property. These primarily consist of ice cream and various fresh fruits mixed with chocolate.
You can also find a few local greeting cards here, and a number of other items.
While you are here, look up at the large collection of nut crackers in all their decorated glory. Some of them are quite large!
Be sure to try the samples so that you can see what items you like the best.
If it is a hot day, be sure to use have some ice cream here!
There are several outdoor locations, so if it is a nice day, you may want to go down by the duck pond, or one of the other outdoor locations far from the dusty parking lot.
You might be able to con one of the employees into allowing you to have a tour of the various places, and there is a window between the hallway and the candy making press, so you can watch what you are eating in a very literal sense.
How to Get Here: Coming from the north or south, watch for entrance signs for the national wildlife refuge on roads leading to the west. If you are coming from the north these will be on Finley Refuge Road, and if you are coming from the south these will be on Bruce Road. Drive past these refuge entry signs, and start watching for the signs on the east side that indicate the entrance to the Hazelnut Hill farm. Turn at the signs at the gravel driveway. After entering the gravel driveway, continue east following the signs at several divisions for approximately 1/2 a mile (1 km). There is a hot unshaded parking lot close to the store, and a shaded parking lot somewhat further from the store, both with signs indicating the location.
Favorite Dish: I can't possibly think of anything from here as being not good. It's all good. It's all way too good!
For $5.25, the 8 ounce (227 gram) bag of Razzcherries in Dark Chocolate seem extravagant, but just having one of them will give you a taste that will last for just as long as a huge dessert at some other places. After you have eaten one it will seem like a great value.
Remember that it is all made right here, and therefore it is literally hand made craft rather than coming from some mass produced plant with several thousand employees.
Don't forget about the ice cream, if it is a hot day!
Please note that some of these items do contain high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener, rather than cane sugar.
Written Aug 9, 2009
Address: 27939 Highway 99W, Corvallis, Oregon 97333
Phone: (541) 754-5657
It is fairly easy to find information about the wildlife refuge. At some of the trail heads, observation points, and other points of interest (please note that this does not include ALL of the locations: just some of them) you will find an information station with a set of literature.
Photo 1 shows the standard set of literature available in these literature racks:
from left to right:
1. a map of all of the Willamette Valley wildlife refuge locations, and basic information about the facilities and wildlife possibilities at each of these refuges.
2. seasonal check list of birds in the Willamette Valley Complex of Wildlife Refuges. These are birds you will probably find, may never find, or sometimes happen to come through.
3. a brocure titled "William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge Trail Descriptions". This is a much more useful brocure than a simple list of trails and their description, because inside the brocure is a fairly detailed map of the refuge, the roads that pass through it, and the location of the various trails, buildings, and what areas are seasonally closed to the public.
4. a brocure for those wishing to become friends of the wildlife refuge, in order to help out on regular work crews that help restore and maintain the refuge for all (both people and animals) to enjoy.
Photo 2 shows what these literature rack shelters look like. These may be found at the trailhead for the Mill Hill trail and at the Finley Refuge Road information kiosk just as you enter the refuge. They are not located at the Woodpecker Trailhead or at the Campbell Memorial Trailhead. So, while these may require some effort to locate, they really are not extremely hard to find. You just need to know what you are looking for.
PLEASE NOTE: The exact appearance of the sign may be slightly different than what you see in the photo. What you are looking for is something with the literature rack underneath, as seen in photo 1. For example, the sign in one location may have a great blue heron on it, and have slightly different wording, than the sign pictured here. What is pictured here is the sign at the Mill Hill trailhead, and advises people that there is another whole section of the refuge that they have yet to explore, if they think they are done here.
Photo 3 shows the inside of the brocure called "William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge Trail Descriptions" and shows the map of the refuge.
Photo 4 shows a detail view of the map inside the brocure. The map may look very primitive, but remember that these maps must be reproduced and quicly modified if necessary using very little resources and money. Therefore, unfortunately, these maps are as best as are possible under the circumstances. Be glad they are available, and are available free of charge.
Photo 5 shows typical signs in the refuge. In some areas the signs are very good, but you need to be able to relate the names of locations to where you want to go, so it is still a good idea to have a map with you.
Updated Aug 10, 2009
As the only store located anywhere on the refuge, perhaps its most unique feature is that it is here at all.
For many years, there wasn't such a store here, but today refuge staff and volunteers help raise funds for various projects by operating this little store, which has been incorporated into the new refuge headquarters building.
The store is open 10 to 4 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
What to buy: This depends entirely on what you need!
+ Wildlife themed artworks and trinkets.
+ Endangered Species Chocolate: Choclate bars that raise funds for the cause of preserving wildlife.
+ Educational books and materials for adults and children
And a variety of other things. The space is very limited, but there is enough here, but it is the only store like this anywhere in the area, let alone on the refuge.
Written Oct 26, 2009
Address: Finley Refuge Road, Monroe, Oregon 97456
Phone: (541) 757-7236
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Dress for the weather, and for where you will be. There is forest on the Mill Hill trail, but no shelter at all on many of the summer-only trails. These can become quite exceedingly hot during an oppressive summer day.
If it has been wet, you can expect mud and in some cases water over the trail surface in some places, especially parts of the Mill Hill Loop Trail.
Photo Equipment: Due to the distance at which many of the animals are from public trails or viewpoints, telephoto equipment (not just camera lenses, but also binoculars, spotting scopes, etc.) will be very helpful. Only certain veiew points have permanent spotting scopes available.
Please see my Telephoto Equipment Tip which is located at
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: It would probably be a good idea to have insect repellant. I have never had a problem with mosquitos here, but it is certainly a possibility as there are some swampy areas. Many of the water bodies have enough motion that they do not seem to promote mosquitos, however.
Updated Apr 12, 2011