Thanks to Metro, 2010 has started off with a bang for urban wildlife lovers. Today the parks-loving governmental body announced
that they have purchased 1,143-acres of open space in the Chehalem Mountains of the Tualatin Valley—the largest such land grab since local voters approved natural area bond measures two years ago.

The new property is no slouch either. Dubbed the Chehalem Ridge Natural Area, the land is positioned in the foothills of the Coast Range, south of Forest Grove, and surveys panoramic views of bucolic farmland and five Cascade volcanoes: Rainier, St Helens, Adams, Hood, and Jefferson. And because the parcel was formerly owned by Stimson Lumber Co., a network of gravel and dirt roads are already in place to provide the backbone for a future trail system.

But don’t go lacing your boots up just yet. While the site includes rare groves of mature white oak, most of the trees here are less than 25 years old. As such, there’s a boatload of stewardship and studies—possible up to a year’s worth—to be undertaken before Metro’s science staff begins to understand how public use will impact the environment.

Nevertheless, it’s a promising development for area trail-lovers, one that, like Metro’s recently opened Cooper Mountain Nature Park, promises to provide a few more miles to explore within the Southwest side’s budding collection open spaces.

Like the thought of more open spaces? Then check out Metro’s
slate of upcoming open houses in which the group will be seeking feedback on roughly 224,000 acres of farmland, forests, and natural areas proposed as reserves.