Springbrook Park is among the City of Lake Oswego’s oldest and largest natural areas, and is a vital part of the Uplands Neighborhood. It provides important environmental functions that benefit the entire area, and it offers passive recreation opportunities to local residents. It existed for 30 years without benefit of an assessment of its natural resources or a long-term plan to preserve, protect, maintain and enhance its valuable place in our community. Lake Oswego, like most cities in Oregon, is growing and experiencing increased density, which is prompting residents to more greatly value and protect remaining natural areas. As development continues in the city, it is important to provide sound management and protection of this valuable resource.
The Springbrook Park Management Plan balances two important goals for Springbrook Park – conservation and usage – by protecting its natural resources and enhancing its user value and educational resources. The plan identifies areas for protection and ensures that development and use of the park is appropriate for its natural functions.
Invasive plants are the most critical threat to the health of Springbrook Park. The Friends of Springbrook Park have received ongoing approval from the city to remove and control the English Ivy and Himalayan Blackberry, based on field observations. Friends of Springbrook Park develop annual work plans to implement the Springbrook Park Management Plan. Friends submit the annual plans to the city’s Parks and Recreation Department for approval.
A group of neighbors developed a Springbrook Park Management Plan for the park, which was adopted by the city and SPAN in late 2003. The plan provides direction for preserving, protecting, maintaining and enhancing the park as a natural area. The Friends of Springbrook Park is empowered to implement the Springbrook Park Management Plan in coordination with the city and the local neighborhood association. Their mission is “To conserve and enhance the natural resources of Springbrook Park and promote education programs.”
Activities promoting conservation of natural resources, promoting involvement in volunteer activities, coordinating particular projects and training volunteers to remove ivy, rehabilitate specific areas, maintain trails and assist with education and special events.
The goal is that the management plan will not only be an effective plan for Springbrook Park, but also be a model for other natural areas in Lake Oswego. The immediate tasks of the Friends will be to control the English ivy and Himalayan blackberry, identify funding sources to accomplish ongoing trail maintenance, signage and reforestation, and continue to reforest the park in appropriate places.
At this time, there are no formal management plans for any natural areas in Lake Oswego. Springbrook Park has the opportunity to serve as a model and as a laboratory for other natural areas. It is the largest natural area in Lake Oswego, as well as the oldest. It also gets a reasonable amount of use by virtue of its location at the center of a residential area, and the fact that the trails through it are primary links between the schools and the residential areas.
This presents opportunities as well as threats. The park is a resource for the whole city, but it also is “owned” by those who live next to it. It may get more use than is desirable for a natural area, or it may get more protection if residents agree that natural resource functions are more important than human use in some areas. Dogs (on or off-leash) are always an issue in natural areas, but many people value the opportunity to experience the woods with their pets. A management plan will need to address how to protect the resource and be responsive to those who use it.
The park is ideally situated to provide an outdoor laboratory for a full range of students, since it is located adjacent to the elementary and the junior high schools and across the road from the 1200 students at Lake Oswego High School. It has already benefited from a number of scout projects, and it could be the recipient of additional activities and projects.
The management plan will evolve over time and will be based on assessments and inventories of current conditions and a description of the desired future conditions. It will delineate areas to protect, rehabilitate and restore, and describe appropriate use of the park and activities in it.