Access to Nature

At the core of our urban conservation efforts is building an interconnected system of parks, trials and natural areas. We believe that everybody should have access to nature within walking distance of their homes. Our system of parks, trails and natural areas are the backbone of our healthy urban environment, providing habitat for birds and wildlife, cleaning our air and water, creating landscape resilience in the face of climate change, and providing our communities with opportunities for recreation and access to nature.

Innovating Urban Conservation

While the concept of “nature close to home” may be the norm today, it wasn’t 40 years ago when Bird Alliance of Oregon first began advocating for a “system of urban wildlife refuges.” We were told back then that “nature belongs outside the city.” Over many decades we have helped build a powerful grassroots urban conservation movement and one of the best parks, trails and natural area systems in the country. We have worked to ensure that parks, trails and natural areas are integrated with other community goals and were a founding member of the groundbreaking Coalition for a Livable Future (1994-2015) and the Intertwine Alliance (2006-Present).

We still have a long way to go. Many people in our region, particularly communities of color and low income communities, still do not have good access to parks, trails and natural areas. Many of our most important ecological sites remain unprotected. Funding remains a constant challenge. Our natural area system faces pressure to add uses that are incompatible with protecting nature.

Bird Alliance of Oregon’s Work to Increase Access to Nature

  • Protecting and restoring our own 172-acre wildlife sanctuary adjacent to Forest Park
  • Advocating for the protection of individual priority natural areas
  • Volunteering on restoration projects
  • Advocating for municipal budgets and other funding mechanisms (such as bond measures, levees and system development charges to support capital and ongoing maintenance needs)
  • Participating in long-range planning processes to ensure that parks, trails and natural areas are built into the DNA of our region
  • Building and participating in coalitions to support parks, trails and natural areas and to integrate parks, trails and natural areas with other progressive goals such as affordable housing, sustainable transportation, green jobs and equity.
Photo by Andre Dengo

How You Can Help

  • Become a Bird Alliance of Oregon Activist and help us advocate for the protect, restoration and funding needed to continue to maintain and build our system of parks, trails and natural areas.
  • For those who like to get their hands dirty, we have restoration projects at our sanctuary and beyond
  • Become a Neighborhood Watchdog and track urban conservation issues for Bird Alliance of Oregon in your neighborhood.