What a crazy summer this has been! COVID caused a huge reduction in staffing across Federal & State parks & forests in Oregon, followed by very large increases in park visitation as people were taking vacations locally. Now the devastating and unprecedented wildfires across the west have thrown another wrench into an already trying year.
Our hearts go out to the thousands of people affected by the wildfires and our thanks to all the firefighters. One way to support the wildfire recovery efforts is through our partners at KGW news. They have set up a website to receive donations in partnership with the Red Cross. You can donate here.
Since the onset of COVID, we have postponed all of our environmental education programs including Ticket2Ride for 3rd–5th graders and Cottonwood Crossing Summer Institute for high school students. We have also had to delay the start of our deferred maintenance program called Oregon Cares For Parks. Lastly, we have seen a marked reduction in donations over this summer.
However, we have some new programs and projects in the works!
- We are exploring options for launching our Oregon Cares For Parks stewardship program next spring. We are also pursuing the opportunity to support stewardship efforts needed to repair or replace burned facilities and amenities in paks and forests throughout the state.
- We are funding a new virtual parks program with our environmental partners (Children’s Forest of Central Oregon, Trout Unlimited, the Middle Deschutes Watershed Council, and The Environmental Center). Trained environmental educators will lead live, virtual park tours for students who would normally have gone on our Ticket2Ride trips. We are very excited and hope this can provide an opportunity for students to continue their exploration of Oregon’s parks and natural spaces in a safe manner without leaving their homes.
- We continue to partner with Patchmarks to expand our merchandise selection to represent our expanded mission. You can now find t-shirts, hats, patches, and sticker designs for Crater Lake, Multnomah Falls, the Oregon coast, the Oregon Coast Trail, and (soon) the Columbia Gorge–as well as our original State Park collection-on the Shop tab on our website.
Please know that members of Oregon Parks Forever play a key role in making it possible for us to work on these and our other initiatives. We greatly appreciate your support. We understand there are many nonprofits and causes to support and are especially grateful when you donate to Oregon Parks Forever to keep our efforts going.
Please stay safe and be good to yourselves throughout this challenging time.
Seth Miller | Executive Director