The Hoyt Arboretum is a non-profit museum of living trees from across the globe spanning 187 acres of land. There are more than 1,000 species of trees and plants represented there, all of which have been grown from seeds that were collected in the wild. Tourists and locals alike can enjoy the magnificence of the titanic collection by strolling down the miles of trails, soaking in the peace and calm that the beauty of nature brings.
The Hoyt Arboretum views itself as a "promise to future generations.'' Most trees take decades to grow to be mature, and the creators of the arboretum state that "Just as we are enjoying mature, wonderful trees that were planted many years ago, the trees we plant today will grow to provide shade, beauty and value for decades and centuries to come.'' To remind visitors of the gain future generations will have from this large garden, the arboretum commonly displays the Greek Proverb: "A society grows great when men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.''
The "Hoyt Park,'' as it was originally called, was deeded to the city in 1922. The property that is now known as the Hoyt Arboretum was going to be used for residential development, but civic leaders had a vision of placing a public park in that space devoted to conserving a wide variety of trees from around the world. The idea quickly caught interest and the first steps were taken to create the beautiful park that we see today.
The arboretum isn't just a calm oasis from urban life, with 21 trails covering 12 miles for visitors to unwind and enjoy. In fact, this "living laboratory'' is an important resource to conserve plant biodiversity. The area is used by scientist and students for plant research, as well as the preservation of hundreds of magnificent tree species. It's an especially important place because, since the collections feature trees from all around the world, scientists and students are given the opportunity to study plants and trees that don't grow in the Northwest.
The Hoyt Arboretum has another function that is a huge benefit to our planet: because the area maintains the growth of so many species from such a wide area, the seeds the plants produce are useful to restore destroyed or at risk native ecosystems.
Visitors are given several resources to make their visit more enjoyable: in the Visitor's Center, people can find free trail maps, self-guided walk brochures, and educational material as well as volunteers that answer questions and provide information about the collections. Parking, restrooms, and ADA accessible trails are provided. Each tree is identified with nearby labels to help curious viewers to learn more about any of the trees they are interested in. Each collection of the trees is organized by geography and plant families (technically referred to as "taxonomy'').
The "world of trees for all seasons'' is only 2 miles west of the bustling metropolitan downtown area of Portland. It's easy to access by bus, car, or Max light rail.