Things to do this Spring, CCSI News, and Spring Membership Gifts!
Things to do this Spring, CCSI News, and Spring Membership Gifts!
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A nonprofit raising funds to enhance and preserve special places and experiences in Oregon’s parks.
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April Featured Park: Fort Yamhill State Heritage Area

Fort Yamhill State Heritage Area is one of the newest parks in the Oregon State Parks system. Opened in 2006 on the site of Fort Yamhill near the Grand Ronde reservation, the park offers a glimpse of history as well as views of Spirit Mountain, a site sacred to Native Americans also known by its Kalapuya name, dji’ntu.
The interpretive trail is short and two-thirds of it is compacted gravel suitable for wheelchairs, although the grade may be challenging for non-motorized chairs. The last .2-mile section heads down through a shady grove along what was once part of the Killimuck Trail used by native people to reach the coast.
The history surrounding the fort is a reminder of the dark side of Oregon’s past as a territory and the conflict among settlers, the United States government, and native people. While the fort was in use by US soldiers for less than ten years, today it is a significant site for archaeological research.
Visiting the park is an opportunity to learn and understand more about the difficult past of our nation as well as the Northwest. Exhibits and restoration work at the park has been done in partnership with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. Archaeological exploration has provided insight into the daily lives of people living in and around the fort during the 19th century.
Oregon Parks Forever helped raise funds for the initial archaeological discovery and restoration of the only remaining historic building on the site. There is no parking fee and there are plenty of picnic spots to choose from here. The park is also near the Chachalu Museum and Cultural Center (open weekdays, Tuesday-Friday). The Chachalu center is a hub for cultural activity and preservation of the history of the Grand Ronde people.

Cottonwood Crossing Summer Institute Applications are Open

High school students who are interested in culture, science, and the environment are encouraged to apply for the Cottonwood Crossing Summer Institute!

Held each summer at Cottonwood Canyon State Park, the institute is a week-long residential field studies program with course options in cultural studies and natural resources. Courses are led be EOU faculty, capstone students, and other local professionals. Students earn college credit for the program while living and learning at the beautiful Cottonwood Canyon State Park along the John Day River. This year’s program will be held June 12-17, 2022. The cost of the program is $350 per student. Scholarships are available; please visit the Cottonwood Crossing Institute website to learn more and register.

New Teacher Institute

The Cottonwood Canyon Teacher Institute is an intensive four day long residential place-based field studies program for teachers from throughout Oregon. Participants choose from four course options where they learn about locally significant cultural or natural resources. Projects are led by EOU faculty, and other regional professionals. More information and registration at

Wildflower Walks and Hikes that Showcase Oregon’s Unique Beauty

Walk with us as we discover five places in Oregon where wildflowers are blooming this spring. No matter where in Oregon your travels take you, there is likely to be someplace nearby to see such Oregon favorites as Trilliums, Camas Lilies, Lupines, and more. These hikes include a range of difficulty levels and accessibility. Read the full article>>

Celebrate Arbor Month

Oregon has officially extended this recognition of trees from the first week of April, to the entire month. Throughout the month, communities are invited to celebrate trees with tree planting events and other celebrations.

The last couple of years, Oregon’s forests have been damaged by wildfires and extreme summer heat. Now, more than ever, is the time to take action to protect our state’s trees. Trees clean our air, provide shade and habitat, and are an important part of our experience in nature. Oregon’s forests, for many, are a spiritual sanctuary for rejuvenating our minds and a place to relax and renew.

Oregon State Forester and Oregon Parks Forever board member, Cal Mukumoto, created a video for Arbor month. He encourages people to find tree-related activities to enjoy, such as visiting a park or arboretum, read a book about trees, or perhaps write a poem – and share them with the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Instagram or Facebook page.

Oregon Parks Forever is committed to helping preserve Oregon’s forests, now and for future generations. We have established our wildfire fund to provide funding for seedlings to replant Oregon’s forests that have been damaged from fire and excessive heat. To date, we have raised funds to replant more than half a million trees. You can donate to the wildfire fund by texting “REPLANT” to 41444 or donate on our website.

Shore Acres Photo by Gwen Ross Newman

Spring Events Not to Miss

As we burst headfirst into Spring here in Oregon, events at local parks seem to be popping up like the wildflowers on the hillsides. Spring in Oregon means wildflowers, waterfalls, and milder temperatures from the coast to the desert. Here are some of our top picks for the upcoming season:

Earth Day: Native Plant Garden Care Event at Silver Falls
Spend Earth Day, April 22nd, at Silver Falls State Park helping to maintain the native plant garden at the South Falls Lodge. Volunteers are needed to clean up winter debris and plant native plants. Afterward, enjoy a guided native plant walk. Register for this volunteer event on the Oregon State Parks website. (free)

Circles in the Sand
Starting May 2nd, walk these ephemeral sand labyrinths created annually by  the draw team for Circles in the Sand. Check the Circles in the Sand website for starting times and dates, then head to Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint for a meditative afternoon on the beach. (free, donations accepted)

Rhododendron Sunday – Mother’s Day at Shore Acres
Sunday, May 8: Treat mom and family to a delightful day at Shore Acres south of Charleston, Oregon. In the garden, members of the Southwestern Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society will have a display of cut blooms and will be available to answer your questions about rhodies. The park is open from 8 am to dusk and the Garden House will be open from 11am-4 pm with refreshments provided by the Friends of Shore Acres. ($5)

Check out more Earth Day events and other Spring activities on our park events calendar.

Welcome New Board Member Kevin Price

Kevin Price began helping to connect kids from Portland’s communities of color to the outdoors more than 25 years ago, while working for Oregon State Parks as a Region Manager.

 While in his role with Oregon State Parks, Price began leading field trips to the Columbia Gorge for students from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Elementary School. Price has said, “There are people who come from around the world to visit some of these scenic areas, and we have people who live within 15 or 20 miles and they’ve never been”. One of the things that Price experienced both in his professional career and with the visitors to our scenic areas, was a lack of people of color. Of the students Price took to visit the Gorge, often only a couple of students out of a group of twenty to twenty-five had visited there before.

Kevin currently serves on the board of the Oregon non-profits, SOLVE, and Friends of the Columbia Gorge. He retired from OPRD in 2018 as the State’s first black Region Manager after 35 years with the agency.
With Sincere Gratitude,
Oregon Parks Forever is excited to introduce a new program combining Oregon park experiences with an Oregon Parks Forever membership. Our Experience Oregon subscription packs make great gifts for the outdoors lover in your life, or for yourself! 
Order now to ship in time for Mother's Day!
Oregon Parks Forever is a statewide, member-supported nonprofit dedicated to raising funds to enhance and preserve special places and experiences in Oregon's parks.
Oregon Parks Forever
503-966-1283 |
1501 SW Jefferson St. Portland, OR 97201
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