Great Partners for a Greater Mt. Pisgah

The Friends partner with numerous landowners to help realize a 40-year community vision of a thriving natural area of nearly 5000 acres at the edge of Eugene/Springfield. Key partnerships are described below.

Collaborating with Partners

Our many successes result from collaboration with our partners. For example, Mount Pisgah Arboretum, a separate organization, manages a 209-acre leased area within Buford Park. Together we help care for the 2300-acre Buford Park in partnership with Lane County Parks, the landowner. Beyond Buford Park, we assist The Nature Conservancy by controlling invasive weeds and propagating native plants and hosting guided tours for the public on the adjacent 1270-acre Willamette Confluence project. Other partners include Oregon State Parks, Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife and Willamalane Parks District.

Lane County Parks

The Friends have an extensive partnership with Lane County, owner of the 2,300-acre Howard Buford Recreation Area (aka Buford Park). Buford Park is the largest parcel in the 4,700-acre greater Mt. Pisgah area and the most-visited of Lane County’s 73 parks, receiving 400,000 visits per year.  It is also a state Conservation Opportunity Area, recognized for it’s outstanding botanical and wildlife resources.  The Friends raise funds to provide professional services that benefit the park and the public. Examples include designing, building, and maintaining trails, controlling invasive weeds, growing native plants, creating interpretive sites and signage, providing interpretive tours, and developing a Habitat Management Plan in partnership with the landowner, Lane County.

Click here to view Mike Russell sharing his vision of the park and the Friends at our 2011 Fall Celebration event.

Mount Pisgah Arboretum

Two separate non-profits serve the public at Howard Buford Recreation Area. Mount Pisgah Arboretum (the Arboretum) is a 209-acre nature education center. The Friends of Buford Park & Mt. Pisgah (the Friends) work outside the Arboretum to steward public and private lands throughout the 4700-acre greater Mt. Pisgah area.

The visitor hub for a larger natural area, the Arboretum enriches lives and community by growing understanding and appreciation of trees and showcasing regional ecology on its intensely managed site. Thousands of children and adults explore nature through educational programs on the Arboretum’s seven miles of family-friendly trails.

The Friends protect and enhance native ecosystems and compatible recreation, foster community stewardship of natural areas, improve and maintain recreational trails, grow native plants for habitat restoration, and work to bring more lands in the Mt Pisgah area into conservation status.

Together, the two groups have enhanced and continue to maintain the ecological and recreational qualities for which the Mt. Pisgah area is famous. The Arboretum’s education mission, and the Friends’ stewardship and recreation mission are complementary and together provide a wide range of opportunities to learn about, care for, and enjoy nature.

The Nature Conservancy

In 2010, after 20 years of advocacy by the Friends for conservation ownership of 1,270 acres bordering Buford Park to the north, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) purchased the property formerly owned by the Wildish family. The Friends are excited to partner with The Nature Conservancy by providing native plant materials, restoration services, and public access through our guided tours. “Restoration at the Willamette Confluence is on a fast track,” remarked TNC’s Jason Nuckols. “We’ve never before had plant materials available this early in the process. The Friends’ nursery is a real asset. Also, the level of public interest in this project is unusually high. By partnering with the Friends, TNC gains valuable capacity to accommodate public interest in this unique property,” Nuckols said.

In 2014, the Friends began a partnership with TNC and Oregon State Parks to design a floodplain restoration project across 3 ownerships at the confluence of the Coast and Middle Forks of the Willamette River.

Oregon State Parks

Glassbar Island, at the confluence of the Coast and Middle Forks of the Willamette River is designated as an Oregon State Park within the Willamette River Greenway.  Access to the island is via boat from the rivers. The Friends are partnering with Oregon State Parks and The Nature Conservancy to design a floodplain restoration project across 3 ownerships at the confluence of the Coast and Middle Forks of the Willamette River.

Bonneville Power Administration

The Friends partner with the Bonneville Power Administration to plan and implement invasive species control underneath the BPA’s three powerlines that traverse Buford Park. The  Friends have restored and maintain native habitat on a 44-acre parcel purchased with funds from the BPA along the Coast Fork of the Willamette River at the southern boundary of Buford Park.  This former ryegrass field is now a growing riparian forest planted with natives from the Friends’ native plant nursery.

Oregon Department of Forestry

The Friends partner with the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) annually to implement our ecological burn program.  These prescribed fires provide a training opportunity for ODF’s staff while providing professional fire management services to the Friends, and ecological benefits to Buford Park.

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