Discover Your Watershed: Thurston Hills Hiking Tour
June 2 • 10:00 am - 2:00 pm• Free
Willamalane Park and Recreation District (WPRD) and the Middle Fork Willamette Watershed Council (MFWWC) will lead a Discover Your Watershed: Thurston Hills Walking Tour on June 2 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the Thurston Hills Natural Area, Springfield. MFWWC Projects Manager Audrey Squires, WPRD Natural Resource Specialist Emily Ring and WPRD Natural Resource Planner Fraser MacDonald will lead the tour. The tour is open to the public; registration is required. To register or for more information, please visit middleforkwillamette.org/events.
In 2017, MFWWC, in partnership with WPRD, received a grant from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) for restoration of oak woodland and prairie habitats in the Thurston Hills Natural Area. The OWEB grant will provide restoration for 16 acres of oak woodland and five acres of prairie habitat. Douglas fir and encroaching woody vegetation will be removed to provide space for native species and to allow oaks to develop open canopies; invasive species will also be removed from the understory of both the oak woodland and prairie habitats. Currently, less than 5 percent of historic oak woodland and 1 percent of prairie habitats remain in the Willamette Valley. The timing of the restoration project aligns with the opening of hiking and biking trails in Thurston Hills in an effort to connect recreation and restoration in our communities.
The tour begins at the Thurston Hills Trailhead, 7575 McKenzie Hwy, Springfield. Tour leaders will discuss key features of the area along the way including the importance of oak restoration in the Willamette Valley, why this site was chosen for restoration and the recreation plan for the area. The tour route is approximately seven miles long; anyone in attendance should bring water, wear sturdy close-toed shoes, and bring walking sticks as the trail is uneven in some spots.