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Ornaments hidden throughout Willamette National Forest

By Ethan Hoagland
Of The New Era/Lebanon Local

Keen Sweet Home hikers will have more than giants and bigfoot to keep an eye out for this winter. The Willamette Valley Visitors Association launched their sixth annual ornament hunt on Friday, Nov. 17.

According to the WVVA, locally crafted wooden ornaments will be hidden along non-wilderness trails in the Sweet Home ranger district. Other participating Willamette National Forest districts include Detroit, McKenzie River and Middle Fork.

The group said in a press release that this year’s ornaments are designed to showcase the Willamette Valley’s wine-growing areas. Behind the idea of this year’s theme is the 40th anniversary of the Willamette Valley earning the American Viticultural Area title. That label helps vintners and wine-drinkers better identify the origin of their wine.

When someone finds an ornament, they’ll also find instructions on how to register to win the grand prize: a two-day getaway to the Willamette Valley.

If you’re interested in an ornament but don’t want to get on the trails, there will be a limited number of ornaments for sale at four ranger stations throughout the forest, according to the press release. Proceeds from those sales go to Cascade Volunteers, which describes itself as a group helping to maintain and create trails throughout the Willamette National Forest. Money from ornament sales will help them bu y new helmets and other tools necessary for trail maintenance.