Intertwine Alliance partners and friends, I'm writing to ask you to support Metro’s recommended plan for the future Chehalem Ridge Nature Park.
Just 15 minutes from downtown Forest Grove, the park is a restoration of a ridgeline with sweeping vistas of the Tualatin River Valley and Coast Range. One of the largest publicly owned natural areas in Washington County, it's approximately the same size as beloved Oxbow Regional Park in east Multnomah County -- but it remains largely unknown beyond its rural neighbors.
Metro's recommendation for the nature park calls for approximately nine miles of trails, parking, picnic shelters, a nature-based play area, and other visitor amenities while preserving core habitat areas and sensitive streams. Community conversations have been underway for more than a year to plan for future public access at the 1,200-acre natural area. Read more about the vision.
I have visited with Metro parks and nature staff on two occasions, and have participated in two site visits for an on-the-ground look at the options. I feel that the recommended plan offers the best habitat protection, as well as access and recreational opportunities most appropriate for the site.
The primary trailhead at Southwest Dixon Mill Road is best suited for a main access point. My initial support was for the secondary access to come off Southwest Winters Road, which we felt would offer more protection for older forest and oak/madrone habitat; but road safety considerations led to the selection of Southwest Bugarsky Road.
In addition to putting ecological protection front and center, I believe Metro staff's decision to provide “family cycling” experiences and to focus as much as possible on shared use for pedestrians and cyclists will reduce negative impacts on interior habitat. The approach of prioritizing “shared use” and of promoting respect among all users will alleviate the need to construct and manage multiple trails, each designated for a specific use; multiple trails would negate Metro’s efforts to address ecological health and function first and foremost.
Metro has done an excellent job of integrating access to nature and low-key recreation at Chehalem Ridge, including extensive outreach to the Latino community through its work with Centro Cultural and other initiatives.
Finally, I strongly support the continuation of Metro's policy of dog-free nature parks, including at Chehalem Ridge.
How to provide input: Share your opinions on Metro’s comment page by this coming Monday, Feb. 20. You will see a map of the recommended plan and then be asked a series of questions.
In addition, you can write directly to the Metro Council to express your support. Email your thoughts to:
Please Cc your email to Karen Vitkay at firstname.lastname@example.org and Dan Moeller at email@example.com.