Tales From The Trails:

A Season of Resiliency

A time of terrible beauty.

These words capture the essence of winter in Forest Park, especially true as the park seems under siege by Mother Nature this year. Washed out culverts and downed trees. Sliding slopes of mud, rock and debris. As trees topple, sections of trail give way and storms wreak havoc, the familiar quiet and peaceful forest has suddenly turned into a place of destruction.

But for as much devastation as winter can cause, it is also a time of raw beauty and hope. The season holds gifts of its own: thirsty creeks and streams swell and rage back to life, their depths encouraging native fish recovery. Downed trees reveal the secret to the next generation of a healthy forest floor, sheltering wildlife and supporting life by enriching the soil as they slowly decompose. Green moss filters and underground water reservoirs refill, helping ensure that Forest Park’s trees are able to survive the next long, dry season. Winter growls and threatens, but it also announces a promise of renewal for a time when seedlings will soon take root and trilliums burst forth.

It’s the season of resiliency, and it brings out the best in the people who love Forest Park. This resiliency is seen in the Portland Parks & Recreation crews who work hard to repair major damage caused by winter forces and help keep it safe for users. It’s witnessed in our own Conservancy staff and volunteers who brave cold, wet and muddy conditions to help the Park and its trails heal and recover. It’s also demonstrated by Park users, those hardy souls who don’t mind getting a little muddy in an effort to appreciate all that the Forest has to offer this season.

Winter reveals many things, including telltale signs of Forest Park’s own resiliency. Trees weakened by invasive species are much more likely to topple in severe weather. Slopes made unstable by loss of native plants and shallow root systems are often the first to weaken and collapse. Aging and inadequate infrastructure is more likely to fail, causing trail washouts and waterway damage. Together with PPR, Forest Park Conservancy is tackling these issues to help Forest Park not only survive, but thrive, season after season.

You can help too. Support our FPC crews who work tirelessly to help repair winter trail damage, restoring the Park back to health and protecting it so it will be able to withstand many winters to come. This season is the best time for restoration projects like native plantings, invasive tree and ground ivy removal, so plan to join our upcoming Day of Stewardship to learn more and lend a hand.

In the meantime, stay safe, enjoy the trails and take the time to rejoice in the many gifts that the winter season brings to Forest Park.

 

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