As we know, Forest Park is in trouble, and its existence relies on volunteer work and non-profit groups like the Forest Park Conservancy. Today Parks Commissioner Nick Fish and Portland Parks and Recreation Director Zari Santner outlined a series of steps for the management of Forest Park, which include defining a partnership between the Conservancy and the Parks bureau.
Fish also announced that the bureau will work with Portland State University to conduct a Forest Park Recreation Survey, to determine exactly how and how often people use the 5,000-acre woodland for recreation. This was a key recommendation of the Forest Park Management Plan that was released in 1995, and a recent City Club report (PDF link) criticized the city for not proceeding with the survey.
From Fish's press release, these are the planned actions:
Partnership with Forest Park Conservancy
The Forest Park Conservancy is a tireless advocate for the park and provides 1,000’s of hours of volunteer labor. This agreement clearly defines the legal relationship between PP&R and the Conservancy, streamlines the development of the yearly work plan and clarifies the roles of the two organizations in ongoing advocacy efforts.
Desired Future Conditions
A critical aspect of the 1995 Forest Park Natural Resources Management Plan, the DFC will provide targets for ecological conditions that will be used to build yearly work plans and long-term action plans.
Security and Safety
Portlanders are calling for more management and enforcement of park rules. Issues with camping, off-leash dogs, illegal trails, and other activities require the attention of a full-time staff member with enforcement capability. A new Park Ranger will be dedicated to Forest Park.
PP&R will work with Portland State University’s Survey Research Lab to complete a Forest Park recreational survey. The survey will provide objective data about use within the park to help the bureau better manage the increasing recreational demands on the park with baseline data on the intensity of use, preferences, quality of existing park features, and demographics of typical park users.
Budget Planning and Funding Sources
The City Club, as a whole, voted to support the Forest Park Study Committee report and establish an advocacy committee. To help inform their advocacy work, the Commissioner will recruit a Study Committee member for the 2011-12 Parks budget advisory committee, which will be formed in September.
Fish also stressed the need for more funds: "We support the call for a dedicated source of regional funding to care for Forest Park," he said.