In Eugene, we are graced with several thousand acres of publicly owned natural area. There are over 3,000 acres of wetlands, over 30 miles of creeks and waterways, and over 2,000 acres of upland forests, prairies, and savannas. These areas support a wide diversity of plants and wildlife, including many endangered and rare species. These areas also provide valuable ecosystem services such as water quality enhancement, flood control, soil stabilization, and many other important functions that benefit our community.
Explore the local natural area in your neighborhood park or larger areas like Skinner Butte or the Whilamut. All are home to interesting plants and animals and play a valuable role in making Eugene a special and more livable place.
Eugene’s Ridgeline system rings the southern edge of the city with a series of large, semi-connected parklands. Valued deeply by the community for recreation, open space, and habitat values, the Ridgeline system is accessed through a network of over 12 miles of trail starting at seven main trailheads.
Waterways, including creeks, rivers and ponds, provide unique important habitat for a wide variety of wildlife species, including neotropical migratory birds, Western pond turtles, beaver, river otter, and even threatened Chinook salmon. Waterways in Eugene are great places to watch wildlife, to go for a paddle, to have a picnic, or to walk, run, bike, or skate along the many miles of trails.
Soils, hydrology, and plants align uniquely in many areas of Eugene to form the foundation of our wetland habitats. Many parks, such as Amazon Park or Gudu-kut, contain remnant wetland ecosystems that support a variety of specially adapted animals and plants. In the western portion of town, the West Eugene Wetlands include a much larger 3,000+ acre interconnected assemblage of wetland prairie habitat.
Natural Areas Assessment
In 2023, Eugene Parks and Open Space completed an assessment of the natural areas under their management. This assessment helps identify parks with larger areas of high quality and regionally important habitats, floodplains, and places to find solace in an urban setting. These data will be used to help prioritize management action, enhancement and restoration opportunities and gaps in our system and knowledge.