At nearly 5,200 acres, Forest Park in Portland, Oregon is one of the largest public spaces within a city’s limits in the United States. The park is home to an abundance of wildlife, including more than 112 bird and 62 mammal species. Its massive tree canopy and substantial undergrowth make the park a natural air purifier, water collector, and erosion controller. As the crown jewel of the City of Portland parks system, it is extremely popular, but excessive impacts have threatened the ecological health and visitor experience in many areas of the park. Significant impacts stem from pets off leash, the improper disposal of pet wast, and invasive species.
During the Hot Sot week, Leave No Trace was able to work with a variety of Portland Parks and Recreation (PPR) staff–from seasonal maintenance crews and stewardship coordinators to trail technicians and park rangers. the Traveling Trainers shared in depth Leave NO Trace information with the PPR staff as well as coached them through effective communication techniques. During one such workshop, the Leave No Trace team worked with the participants to develop ways the rangers could address the impacts they see on a daily basis. The Traveling Trainers helped the PPR rangers adapt their current communication strategies to fit methods that would be more effective in addressing common recreation-related impacts.
The Traveling Trainers also worked to strengthen the Leave No Trace awareness in the local community. They teamed up with the Forest Park Conservancy, the Audubon Society of Portland, and the No Ivy Leave to educate visitors at the Leif Erikson Trailhead in Forest Park. Traveling Trainers and PPR rangers handed out educational materials and engaged visitors through games and an activity in which rangers flagged 52 piles of dog waste/abandoned dog bags. The purpose of these engaging activities was to raise awareness about, and address the issue of, improper disposal of pet waste in the park. The Leave No Trace staff visited three additional popular PPR parks to educate visitors. They introduced visitors to the principles of Leave No Trace and discussed how they can prevent recreation-related impacts across the Portland parks system.
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