An Oregon Designer’s Guide to the Perfect Day Outside—and the Nonprofits That Keep The State Beautiful
Like so many native Oregonians, Kristen Robison, who designs the minimalist and timeless jewelry line Minoux, will talk your ear off about how great her home state is. To her, Oregon’s inextricable connection between forest and ocean is tied to “a long tradition of working to protect the land and all it provides us. It can be easy to miss how this work has preserved things that make Portland stand out today.” We asked Kristen to give us a little rundown of the can’t-be-missed scenic spots for outdoor adventure and a little background on the organizations that keep this region looking—and feeling—so good.
“If you’re visiting Portland, something special that’s easy to overlook is our world-class drinking water, which flows directly from the Bull Run Watershed in Mount Hood National Forest. From the fifties to seventies, there was lots of destructive logging in the watershed, which impacted the water quality. People fought for decades to stop it and succeeded in ending all Bull Run logging in 1996. Today, one quarter of all Oregonians get their clean drinking water from this part of the forest! Oregon Wild was one of the groups involved in this victory, and they’re continuing doing great work to protect forests and wildlife. You can join them for a free hike or event, and get to know Oregon in a deeper way.”
“Portland visitors often head to the Columbia River Gorge at a minimum for a quick day trip to see Multnomah Falls. The Gorge is, in a word, stunning. Spectacular views, hikes, and geology. And there are a ton of people working so hard to keep it that way! Columbia Riverkeeper has done an incredible job protecting the Gorge communities and the river from pollution and fracked-gas export terminals and advocating for salmon and Hanford clean-up. If you enjoy the Gorge or would like to visit someday, maybe sign up for Columbia Riverkeeper's Action Alerts so you can stay informed.”
“A perfect day off is grabbing a friend, strong coffee, and picnic snacks and heading to the Gorge for a long hike or to the river for a lazy lounge.”
“Did you know that over a quarter of Oregon is high desert? The most famous desert spot in Oregon is probably the Painted Hills, which is otherworldly and endlessly photogenic with layers of pinks, gold, black, and red. It’s part of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) works to preserve this region’s natural legacy—they led campaigns that established the only three desert wilderness areas in Oregon: Steens Mountain Wilderness, Oregon Badlands Wilderness, and Spring Basin Wilderness. Still, only one percent of Oregon’s desert public lands are protected. But ONDA has a plan to protect 58,000 acres of public land surrounding the Painted Hills. It’s called the Sutton Mountain Wilderness Proposal, and you can join ONDA’s email list to stay on top of developments!”