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YEAR: est mid-70
COUNTY: Marion County
LOCATION DETAILS: The Howard's Creek horse camp at Silver Falls State Park.
NEAREST TOWN: "Howard's Creek" multi-famly camping site.
NEAREST ROAD: Hwy. 214
OBSERVED: Visual Incident approx mid-seveties in Oregon State Park special campsite area called "Howard's Creek".
It was the habit of my family and several other families to reserve this campsite for a weekend in the summer. It was an infrquently available campsite, as apparently there was a desire to keep the site pristine and in original natural condition.
Howard's Creek does have a forest road that ends at Howard's Creek with a turnaround circular drive aspect at the end of the road and we set up camp in part of this area circled by road.
It was a bright Sunday afternoon and all the other families had left for home to be sure the kids would be ready for school. My family stayed behind not feeling we needed to get back so urgently, and decided the 4 of us would go for a walk around the circular road.
Almost at the turning point fork we saw what we assumed was a huge bear, walk out from the brush from the right of the road, look our way briefly, then walk fast accross the road and crashed into the brush on the left side. The size of this "bear" was frightening, as I and my husband are 6 foot 3 and 6 foot 4 respectively and this animal was much bigger, probably 7 or 8 feet tall at least and very heavily built. Covered with very dark brown fur. Walking upright with arms bent. Frightened, we rushed back to camp not wanting to be prey to some kind of attack from this creature, whom we assumed was loking for leftovers after people had left camp. Estimating distance from where we were to the creature, perhaps 60 to 75 feet in front of us. It was a bright sunny day but also with shade from all the trees there.
Near the camp we noticed scratches gouged deep into a tree trunk, but considerably higher than we could reach, and we assumed they were made by the animal we'd assumed was a bear.
As soon as we got home, we spoke to the couple next door who had been in the camping party, to ask more about what kind of bears you get in Oregon. We had no knowledge of bears we explained, being from South Africa where there are no bears. I asked if it was a Grizzly, as that as far as I remembered was the biggest bear you got.
To our surprise she informed us that no bear was as big as we described, and nor do bears walk on two feet.
Had we known that what we saw was really unusual, we'd have probably got a better description by looking more carefully. I do have university training in zoology, but the best I can say is that I saw it from the side, so did not get a good look at the face even though it glanced our way briefly. It must have weighed well over 500 pounds, maybe 800, I don't think more.
Hopefully Howard's Creek is a well documented place. I don't know how to find it again. It's south of Orgon possibly closer to ugene. The family nex door to us knew the way and we followed them when we went there.
I don't know what year it was, but it had to be mid-seventies: We lived in Oregon 1972 to 1984, and my younger son born Aug 1973 was with us as a toddler or young preschooler.
One family camping with us said that a movie or part of one had once been shot in the Howard's Creek area. I know it was little used as a campsite. It's remote, off the beaten track and very peaceful and beautiful.
ALSO NOTICED: It was very quiet - and 4 of the 5 families camping had left.
We felt sure the creature was only there because it did not
think any of the campers was still there.
OTHER WITNESSES: Just my family of 4. The 2 kids were young.
OTHER STORIES: We did not camp there again. Apparently the site was seldom made available for camping to keep it natural. (According to the neighbour who booked it well in advance.)
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Warm weather, bright sun, some shade from all the trees in the forest.
ENVIRONMENT: Forest - but lots of undergrowth too, but not too much to find places to pitch tents and have a sit-around campfire for about 5 families. Berries were growing at the time. A long loop at the *end* of the access road to the place had forest in side the loop.
Follow-up investigation report:
A little more description from the witness:
The fur was long and coarse looking maybe 2 inches, dark brown, no black, not red, not light brown, thick but not as dense as say a snow leopard, but more dense than an orangutan. Texture more like the latter. I assumed male but have no reason for that. Very heavily built, we were scared and felt the need to get lost from there quickly with the two little ones - but we walked fast, did not run (as one would do in the African bush where running is dangerous as it makes you look like prey.) So all we saw was the creature crossing the road. I'm sorry I can't think of any more details, I just didn't pay a lot of attention, not thinking it was unusual at the time - just assumed it was a giant bear. He (or she?) hesitated as he walked out of the dense undergrowth on the right with left arm bent so hand would be in front of sternum, I did not see anything carried. He looked startled/surprised on seeing us and then quickly crossed the road - so the noise through the brush was urgent and unabashed, whereas he'd arrived without a lot of noise.