The Best of Both Worlds

Enhancing Habitat and Building Compatible Trails

Improving trails for both wildlife habitat and trail users’ experiences.

by Robert Spurlock, Associate Regional Planner, Metro, Elaine Stewart, Senior Natural Resources Scientist, Metro, Emily Roth, Senior Planner-Environmental, Portland Parks and Recreation

Presenters: Robert Spurlock, Regional Trails Planner, Natural Resources Scientist, Oregon Metro; Elaine Stewart, Natural Resources Scientist, Oregon Metro; Emily Roth, Senior Environmental Planner, Portland Parks and Recreation, Oregon; Lisa Tyler, Construction Project Manager, Portland Parks and Recreation, Oregon

The Powell Butte Nature Park, one of Portland’s premier natural areas, is well used by Portland citizens whose continual activity eroded the soft surface trail system. Portland Parks completed a successful rebuild of the Nature Park’s trails, which accommodate a variety of users: pedestrians, mountain bikers, and equestrians. By working together at every step, from concept planning and design to construction and maintenance, planners and biologists can improve trails for both wildlife habitat and trail users’ experiences.

View This Presentation Online

About the Authors

Robert Spurlock is an Associate Regional Planner with Metro. He has more than 10 years of experience in urban planning and natural area land management. His project work includes regional trail master planning, active transportation system planning, site planning, right-of-way acquisition, and public involvement. Prior to Metro, Robert worked in Managua, Nicaragua as an Afro-Caribbean music promoter, high school teacher and restorer of liberation theology-themed murals. He holds a B.A. in geography and urban studies from Macalester College, and has completed graduate coursework in urban and regional planning at Portland State University.

Elaine Stewart is a Senior Natural Resources Scientist with Metro, a regional government in Portland, Oregon. She is a project manager for natural area restoration projects, managing and overseeing feasibility analyses, project scoping, development of project funding, project implementation, and evaluation of project effectiveness. Her ecological restoration projects encompass nearly every ecosystem in the lower Willamette Valley and include rare plant and wildlife conservation. Prior to joining Metro in 1996, Elaine worked for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for many years in marine recreational and commercial fisheries management. She completed her B.S. degrees at Oregon State University’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and she holds a M.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife from the University of Missouri.

Elaine became interested in wildlife and trail issues when she witnessed struggles between wildlife advocates and trail proponents, often fighting over small strands of natural habitat in urban areas. She joined Robert’s team on the Westside Trail project, where the two collaborated to find a better way to address habitat issues and opportunities in urban trail planning. They are now reaching out to share their lessons learned and gain from the experience of others.

Emily Roth has worked as the Senior Planner -Environmental at Portland Parks & Recreation since 2008. She has been dedicated to natural resource planning, policy, and management in Oregon for over 22 years. At PP&R she has led numerous planning projects in natural areas to restore upland, riverine, and riparian habitats, and provide access to nature. She is often the project manager for planning trails in natural areas.

Contact: [email protected]

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