There is nothing as explicitly summery as heading out to a place like Mt. Hood or the gorge for a day-long hike or a week of camping, especially when the weather is perfectly hot enough to accommodate and justify an expensive (but necessary) tube of sunblock. As a hiker, the sense of exhilaration I get at the end of a long, winding trail is a feeling that is hard to find elsewhere. A physical, personal accomplishment is not often rewarded with a resplendent view of a snow-capped mountain in the distance, or a deep swooping valley that radiates a shade of green you would never find in a city. This is why we value the existence of parks, campgrounds, and places where we can enjoy and take part of nature.
That being said, it’s also important to make sure these parks, campgrounds, and natural areas are supported, maintained, and repaired. I’m sure every hiker has experienced at least once a sort of ill feeling after trekking onward for quite some time looking for a sign to tell you where you are. It’s easy to envision yourself getting lost in the wild, like in the movie Wrong Turn, where people go missing in the seemingly remote forest. For campers, it’s the lack of amenities, or comfortable access to sites that can transform their trip into something akin to a horror movie.
There are a number of places that need improvement. The Pine Point recreation area which we had worked on, for example, was such a place: the campgrounds were out of date and various boundaries were missing to indicate different properties and area uses. To see this project, go here.
Our West Shore project in Timothy Lake addresses a few common problems as well. Some things we did to improve West Shore as a day use area include the creation of family picnic areas, development of parking areas not visible from the shoreline, and introduction of signage to enhance visitor experience and overall area infrastructure. We’re excited to wrap this project up and present a full examination of this work.
Truthfully, there isn’t a better time to enjoy those parks and trails now, as I did yesterday at Wahclella Falls. As my companion and I trudged up an endlessly steep service road without any decent stopping points, I wondered where we were going and if it was going to be really cool.
Can you think of any locations you’ve been to that need improvement?