Visit one of the most picturesque places in Oregon…Buford Park. by Pat Farr

 

Visit Friends of Buford Park here...Then actually visit the park here

Mt. Pisgah and its associated park and preservation land are a regional gem...

Buford Park, Mt. Pisgah, Emerald Meadows and the associated park and preservation land are a regional gem…

Lane County will be conducting a prescribed ecological burn at the Howard Buford Recreation Area and the Nature Conservancy’s Willamette Confluence preserve on September 29 or 30, weather permitting. The ecological burn will help preserve and restore prairie and oak savanna habitat.

“Burning is a regular and natural part of the environment in these natural areas,” said Mike Russell, Lane County Parks manager. “We work closely with Lane Regional Air Pollution Authority and our River’s to Ridges partners throughout the area to make sure the burn is safe and will not disrupt the community.”

The ecological burn will be performed in the northwest corner of the park and include habitat on the Nature Conservancy’s Willamette Confluence property. Ecological burns are always dependent on weather. If postponed, an update will be provided to the community by notification to the media.

During the ecological burn, the following changes will be in place:

  • North trailhead and Trails 3 and 7 will be closed
  • Trail 17 from the west trailhead to trail 7 will remain open
  • Trail 3 south beyond the junction with trail 7 will remain open
  • The burn will not impact the west and east trailheads
  • Trails in the arboretum will not be affected
  • The west summit trail will remain open

Visitors to the park should be aware of possible smoky conditions and restricted access to the northwest portion of the park during implementation of the burn.

Lane County’s ecological burns are conducted in partnership with the Friends of Buford Park & Mt. Pisgah, the Nature Conservancy, and the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Why the County conducts ecological burning:

The ecological burn is being performed as a tool for the management of vegetation in the Spring Box Savanna to help re-establish historically native plant communities in these rare Willamette Valley habitats. The Willamette Valley was once dominated by savannas and prairies rich with diverse grass and wildflower species. This ecosystem requires regular disturbance like fire to maintain native species and to prevent conversion of open prairie to a closed woodland or forest. Historically, disturbance was provided through regular intentional burning by native people or ignition by lightning. Many of our native prairie plants, such as camas and the federally endangered Bradshaw’s lomatium, have evolved with fire for thousands of years and flourish after a site is burned.

Ecological burns in the park’s prairies accomplish several biological and fire safety goals including improved seed germination, removal of built up thatch, and short-term soil fertilization.  All of these factors help native, fire-dependent species thrive like the rare western Meadowlark, Oregon’s state bird, which nests in prairies (grasslands). In addition, controlled burns protect the open prairie structure, as well as reduce the future risks of wildfires to local residences through the removal of standing dead vegetation. The burns are also a training opportunity for the firefighting crews.

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