No. 13 Because Forest Park’s Nooks and Crannies Can Still Surprise

For decades, Forest Park has offered a blissful escape from the bustle of the city, but during the pandemic, it has morphed into something more.

Last month, the Forest Park Conservancy announced it had received a 60-acre land donation—the first in over 25 years. The conservation easement ensures the property around the greenspace will remain off-limits to developers—a moving chapter in the ongoing love story between the park and the hikers, bikers and wanderers of Portland.

For decades, Forest Park has offered a blissful escape from the bustle of the city, but during the pandemic, it has morphed into something more. As our world grew cramped and airless, the park offered an increasingly rare opportunity to roam and get lost—like I almost did when I stumbled onto a muddy, hilly trail that I worried would deposit me in a netherworld between Portland and Beaverton.

Forest Park was dedicated in 1948 and conceived by brothers John Charles Olmsted and Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., whose father designed Central Park. It’s an auspicious connection, but if Central Park is a pocket of space, Forest Park is akin to another plane of reality. You go there to feel comforted by the womblike embrace of the trees and liberated by the way it looms above downtown. Now more than ever, it’s our soul-expanding second home.

See all 25 Reasons to Love Portland here!