What We Do
Oregon Parks Forever is a statewide nonprofit organization raising funds to enhance & preserve special places and experiences in Oregon’s Parks. With the growing popularity of outdoor recreation, visitation to parks in Oregon has exploded. Additional use of our parks and facilities accelerates wear and tear. This, combined with deferred maintenance from chronic underfunding, has resulted in costs exceeding available funding. Oregon Parks Forever was formed to help supplement existing funding sources, in order to preserve and protect the experience of using the parks for Oregonians and all those who visit our beautiful state.
As stewards of our parks, and for the benefit of all who enjoy them, we are committed to preserving resources and enhancing opportunities that will maximize the values of Oregon parks, now and for generations to come.
Why is Oregon Parks Forever Needed?
Nationally, and in Oregon, parks have been chronically underfunded. Combine this with explosive increases in day-use visitation and our parks are experiencing significant wear & tear and reductions in services.
For example, since 1998, the Oregon State Park system has not been funded by Oregon taxes. The park system relies on user fees, a fixed portion of the Oregon Lottery proceeds, and portions of registration fees for most of its funding. As visitation to State Parks are exploding, and costs of running Oregon State Parks are exceeding this funding, our organization was formed in 1995 to help supplement these funding sources, in order to preserve and protect the experience of using the parks. In 2020, we decided to broaden our mission and offer our support to all public land agencies across the state, especially in the area of catching up on deferred maintenance in day-use areas.
Deferred maintenance is a huge issue nationally. The National Park Service has announced that they have $12 Billion in deferred maintenance. The US Forest Service has said they have $5 Billion, and the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that there are at least $95 Billion in deferred maintenance issues in State Parks across the country. We believe that there are over $1 Billion in deferred maintenance issues in parks across Oregon.
Our mission is to raise funds to enhance and preserve special places and experiences in Oregon’s parks, now and for generations to come, and to encourage and promote an outdoor lifestyle.
We support this mission by raising funds, building partnerships, and increasing public awareness about educational and recreational opportunities available in Oregon’s parks.
Our work is driven by the passion that Oregonians hold for Oregon’s parks, and the significant contribution such resources provide our economy, communities, state, and individual health and well-being. Oregon’s parks are a vital part of our state’s heritage. They are a significant draw for new employers and employees and a very large source of tourism income for the state. Oregon Parks Forever is committed to helping ensure that this legacy continues for generations to come.
From the restoration and preservation of some of Oregon’s most prized historic monuments and places to the establishment of interpretive and educational programs for the benefit of park visitors, Oregon Parks Forever supports the preservation and enhancement of Oregon’s incredible parks.
With your help, we can preserve our parks and the resources that help them thrive. Becoming a member of Oregon Parks Forever makes it possible for us to support projects and activities in the parks that:
- Protect the facilities, amenities, and trails that are already built.
- Teach children about the environment and outdoor resources
- Increase park accessibility, especially in underserved communities and populations.
- Promote and provide opportunities for healthy activities like hiking, cycling, and camping
For 25 years, our organization – under the names Oregon State Parks Trust and subsequently Oregon State Parks Foundation – has raised funds to preserve and enhance Oregon’s state parks. These funds supported many vital projects such as building a new Experience Center at Cottonwood Canyon State Park, restoring Vista House at Crown Point, preserving and enhancing the Kam Wah Chung Heritage Site, helping to maintain Oregon’s lighthouses, purchasing important property at Iwetemlaykin State Heritage Site and Smith Rock State Park, and providing important program funding for enhancing projects such as “Let’s Go” and “Ticket2Ride.” In 2020, to reflect the broadening of our mission to include other public lands in Oregon, and to reduce confusion with the Oregon State Parks name, we changed our name to Oregon Parks Forever.