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Untitled | by Matt Niebuhr
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The Collins Sanctuary, Portland, Oregon 2010


The Collins Sanctuary (86 acres) is owned by Metro and maintained for public use by the Audubon Society of Portland. Of the three Audubon Sanctuaries, it has less mature Douglas Fir, Hemlock and Western Red Cedar and is dominated by an Alder forest.


Although possibly viewed as "natural" this is in my view an "altered" landscape. It is a park, a sanctuary for nature to potentially return to the wildness that the Lewis and Clark expedition may have encountered along their explorations over 200 years ago, a landscape inhabited at that time by Native Americans. Since then, actions such as extensive logging of the old growth trees surrounding the city and later, attempts at development found the terrain "unsuitable" for building. This has forever altered the area. Remnants of old logging roads and access grades still are evident in the forest park trails along with the introduction of many "invasive" plant species and of course the foot trails now maintained that offer the opportunity to explore these woods on our own. What is interesting to me is to picture the transformation - to picture elements of the "struggle" as nature takes its course however altered that course may be - and to recall too that ultimately, we are a part of nature not separate.


Perhaps ... "in Wildness is the preservation of the World. " - from an essay entitled Walking by Henry David Thoreau.

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Taken on November 6, 2010