Friends of Tryon Creek celebrating 50 years in 2020
The Friends of Tryon Creek are celebrating 50 years of supporting Tryon Creek State Natural Area in 2020. The organization was founded by a group of forward-thinking individuals who came together to preserve the unique and historic forested canyon between Lake Oswego and Portland.
Oregon officials realized how valuable the large forested park would be for the metropolitan area, and the land was designated as a State Park in December 1970. The Tryon Creek State Park and Nature Center was formally dedicated in July 1975.
The organization is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, which receives no state funding.
The public effort began with a fund drive on the first Earth Day in April 1970. According to Friends of Tryon Creek Executive Director Monica Smiley, 310 women from the surrounding neighborhoods went door to door, and raised $27,000 from 1,400 donors. The money was used to take options on the property. Local schools joined in, and the broader community became informed and supportive.
"This was a true grassroots, community effort," said Smiley. "Neighbors held garage sales, children collected cans and students marched from Jackson (Middle) School."
Today, Friends of Tryon Creek supports Oregon State Parks to create a flourishing community of park lovers caring for the forest. The Friends activate 1,300 volunteers yearly, dedicated to building and maintaining trails, removing ivy and other invasive plants, and connecting 5,000 children to nature through school field trips and day camp programs.
"It is serendipity that we have Tryon Creek State Natural Area today," said Lu Beck, co-founder and board member emeritus of Friends of Tryon Creek, "I will be forever grateful for the park, the Friends, and the myriad ways they add health, value and connection to our lives. Our community is stronger and more resilient for having this park in our neighborhood."
The mission of the Friends of Tryon Creek is to inspire and nurture relationships to nature in the unique urban forest. Its education programs seek to reach all ages and the stewardship programs engage the community in the health of Tryon Creek State Natural Area.
Tryon Creek State Natural Area is located at 11321 SW Terwilliger Blvd. in southwest Portland. The 675-acre park currently welcomes over 500,000 visitors each year and is home to more than 200 species of birds, mammals and amphibians. Visitors enjoy miles of hiking trails, a paved bicycle path and horse trails.
Learn more online at tryonfriends.org.
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