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Several popular Lane County parks damaged in January ice storm will reopen soon

On Saturday, March 2, Willamalane Park and Recreation District is reopening three more parks in Springfield that have been closed since January’s ice storm.

Fort Park, Douglas Gardens Park, and all Thurston Hills Natural Area hiking trails will open.

While Thurston Hills trails are open, the district encourages visitors to be careful and stay on marked trails. There is still storm debris in the park.

“Reopening the hiking trails at Thurston Hills Natural Area marks a milestone in the storm clean-up efforts," said Willamalane Executive Director Michael Wargo. "I am so thankful to the volunteers, Willamalane staff, and partner crews who have worked so hard to get our parks and trails back open. We are still asking that people exercise caution in the parks and natural areas, but we are thrilled to welcome the community back to doing what they enjoy most.”

Several more opportunities are available for community members interested in lending a hand.

You can sign up for a volunteer clean-up event at willamalane.org/volunteer

Howard Buford Recreation Area will reopen on March 15

Lane County Parks has announced that it will reopen Howard Buford Recreation Area, also known as Mount Pisgah, on Friday, March 15.

The popular park outside Eugene has been closed since the January ice storm which caused significant damage to the trails and arboretum.

Park staff, volunteers, and partner organizations have been holding work parties during the closure to clear downed trees and branches and make the park safe again for the public.

Lane County Parks said that while there has been significant damage to some of the most popular trails, temporary stabilization measures have been implemented using gravel to ensure safe use until major repairs can be undertaken in the summer or fall. Future repairs may require closure during the most intensive reconstruction on trails 1, 2, 6, and 46.

Visitors can expect to find a changed landscape due to the loss of trees and other vegetation.

"We understand the importance of HBRA to our community, and we are committed to maintaining its beauty and accessibility for all to enjoy," said Jason Blazar, stewardship director, Friends of Buford Park and Mt. Pisgah.

There’s a celebration planned for Saturday, March 16 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Mount Pisgah, with guided walks and talks about the recovery efforts.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. She also is the editor of the KLCC Extra, the daily digital newspaper. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.
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