Forest Park - Portland, Oregon - Plenty of Trails and Wildlife


Forest Park is a public park located in Portland, Oregon. The park is in the Tualatin Mountains and was acquired in 1947. It consists of over 5,150 acres and has hillsides that overlook the Willamette River. Park hours are from 5:00am to 10:00pm daily. There are hiking trails, biking trails, equestrian trails, and guided trails. There are roughly seventy miles of trails available.

The 30-mile Wildwood Trail segment of the 40 Mile Loop System crosses back and forth through the park. The 40 Mile Loop is a misnomer, because the total path is now roughly 140 miles. The Wildwood Trail is recognized as a National Recreation Trail. The trail begins at Hoyt Arboretum and ends at Newberry Road. The Stone House is one of the landmarks on the Wildwood Trail. The Stone House was originally a public restroom that was built by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s. Due to vandalism, the building was gutted because the repairs would have been quite costly. The Stone House still exists as a landmark and a place to rest along the trail.

There are over 62 different mammalian species and 112 unique species of birds in the park. The park has a huge canopy of trees and a wealth of undergrowth. This makes the park a good natural air purifier and erosion controller. Forest Park is also home to over 100 native species of shrubs and trees.

The three main species of trees in the park are the western red cedar, the western hemlock, and the Douglas fir. Other types of trees are present in smaller numbers, such as the black cottonwood, the madrone, the western yew, the grand fir, the red alder, and the big leaf maple. There is a variety of vegetation, including bracken, fireweed, and thistle grasses. Salmonberry, thimbleberry, and blackberry shrubs are located throughout the park.

Some of the different forms of wildlife found in the park include: bobcats, black-tailed deer, little brown bats, blue grouse, northern flying squirrels, gophers, elk, great horned owls, ospreys, orange-crowned warblers, pacific jumping mice, and creeping voles.

Park wildlife is threatened by overuse of the park, invasive plants, encroachment, and a lack of maintenance. Pollution and urban development have reduced the number of wildcats, bears, and wolves. At the same time, the number of small predators like raccoons and weasels has increased. The English ivy present in the park is invasive and less supportive of some of the native insects. The population of these insects has declined, which has also led to a decline in the number of salamanders and other amphibians that feed on the insects.

The Forest Park Conservancy was created to help support the park. The Conservancy helps with fundraising, resource management, and improved recreational experiences for visitors.

The park receives about forty inches of rain each year. There are several small creeks that run through the park, most of which are unnamed. There are five names streams: Miller Creek, Doane Creek, Saltzman Creek, Rocking Chair Creek, and Balch Creek. These streams eventually flow into the Willamette River.

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