Category: Projects

A recent publication in Society for Ecological Restoration text

cover

Jordan’s piece about stream restoration, written with Dean Apostol, was recently featured in the second edition of “Ecological Restoration: Principles, Values, and Structure of an Emerging Profession (Andre F. Clewell, James Aronson),” in which he examines the decline and later reformation of salmon population in the Siuslaw River.

The article is angled as a “virtual field trip” that takes the reader to the “experience” of the Siuslaw salmon restoration project. Secter and Apostol briefly examine the Siuslaw river ecosystem and reveal that the causes of salmon decline in one of the northwestern coast’s most naturally beautiful rivers include overfishing, dam construction, stream habitat degradation, and competition with farm-raised fish.

In 1992, the US Forest Service purchased the valley bottom of Karnwosky Creek, which joins the Siuslaw River estuary east of the Pacific Ocean. Secter details the restoration project that ensued, which featured much community support. Through collaborative efforts, Karnowsky Creek is internationally recognized as a successful restoration undertaking, with coho smolts now abundant in the recovered and salmon-friendly creek.

The field of ecological restoration has come a long way since it emerged as a subset of ecology in the 1980s. Though it remains a relatively young face in the larger field of environmental sciences and strategies, ecological restoration has gained with increasing force a unique stature, and Secter is proud to be a contributor!

Advertisements

Moments in Landscape

A conversation we started on Land8 was spotlighted as a featured discussion!

We posed the question to landscape designers: Where did your passion for landscape originate? What were the narratives you had growing up that defined and transformed the world into a canvas for you?

We generated some really interesting, compelling responses (some even recounted poetically), all of them which may be read here.

The responses we received are really exciting to us, as they help to accomplish two important things:

1) Affirm the vitality and social value of the profession (it can often be viewed pejoratively and is misunderstood as being “exclusive” or culturally/socially unusable or irrelevant).

2) Uncover a common thread that connects all of us–professionals and nonprofessionals alike. The land is our home to all the meaningful experiences we’ve had–and will continue to have. It’s the book of all our experiences, the story of which, of course, is forever ours to write.

We encourage you to read this discussion here and join us in the conversation by telling your story in the comments. Share with your friends. Let’s rethink our connections and relationships to the land.

Without it, where else would we be?

West Shore shoreline visualization

Nate just wrapped up this awesome photomerge simulation for our West Shore day use project. This is what the shoreline trail looks like currently:

Image

This is what the trail will look like after we give it the Secter treatment:

Image

Notice the big difference? The guard rail has been eliminated, replaced by materials (wood and corten steel) that work in concert with the surroundings. This separates the asphalt road from the compacted gravel, providing a safe border for pedestrians. Boulders line the edge on the right with added vegetation, enhancing the scenic value of the area. The result: looks and feels better.

We’re lucky to have Nate on the team for projects like these to help us evaluate and assess the visual impacts of a proposed development. It’s a huge boost to the area, don’t you think?

Fossil, Oregon – Bowerman Trail Under Construction!

Image

Fossil, Oregon is the site of a project we’ve been working on since January. Our work is finally in the construction stage! We planned and designed the first loop of a nascent trail system and once completed, the Bowerman Trail (named after Bill Bowerman) will be Fossil’s very first recreational, pedestrian use route intended for hiking and running.

Image

We were enlisted by Oregon State Parks and Recreation to plan this trail, and through extensive review and with in-depth input from the community, we generated a design that would make the trail accessible, user-friendly, and visually and environmentally responsible. The design works with intricate property lines while taking visual impact into consideration. For example, we’ve aligned the trail along the hillsides in such a way to prevent visual impairment, so that the route doesn’t hinder the value of the scene. Strategically located viewpoints will give way to notable scenes along the path, as less attractive viewsheds will be concealed via (potential) vegetation screens.

For the path itself, we’re utilizing locally gathered materials that will fit the context of the landscape and the community that inhabits it. Once completed, the Bowerman Trail will allow residents to partake in a healthy movement towards an active lifestyle and engagement with the outdoors. It will reinforce and integrate Fossil’s Old West roots and reintroduce its residents to the land.

We’re excited to see the construction completed (hopefully) by October!

Timothy Lake signage

IMG-20120619-00117

Trailhead signage kiosk at Timothy Lake designed by Jordan and Nate.

Here’s what Jordan says about the design:

“We wanted to keep it simple. The aesthetic is rustic but there’s a modern Northwestern flavor to it. We placed a high value on the setting in which the kiosk was going to be placed, so with context in mind, we wanted to design the kiosk with a metal mesh that would allow the boards to float on top and around the signage. Even when there is information displayed, there remains a visual connection to the landscape, which was the real priority behind the design.”

We love that this modern design holds that essence of penetrability which allows us to make associations between the kiosk and the land around it. Its wonder lies in the simplicity of the design, its friendship with the landscape, and its reference to contemporary Northwestern motifs.

Happy hiking/picknicking/camping (while the sunshine is still here)!

Recreation planning

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.

Image

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?