Baltimore Woods is all that remains of the native forest, including deciduous Oregon White Oak and Bigleaf Maple, and evergreens like Douglas Fir and Pacific Madrone that once blanketed this part of the Willamette Valley, and then was logged at the turn of the 20th century. In fact, it is a crucial link for continuous wildlife movement and bird migration along the Willamette bluff, stretching from Willamette Cove north to Smith and Bybee wetlands. To this end, Friends of Baltimore Woods (FOBW) volunteers strive to restore the woods and improve its ecological capabilities – both as wildlife forage and shelter, and as a healthy, functioning watershed.
Baltimore Woods is situated on a steep slope (between North Baltimore and Catlin streets along unimproved Decatur Street), degraded by erosion and vulnerable to invasive non-native plants, like English ivy, Himalayan blackberry and wild clematis – perfect tinder for explosive, fast-spreading fires. Our goal is to restore a healthy, balanced forest, which will benefit the entire neighborhood by making destructive fires less likely in the future. Once established, native plantings like Oregon Grape, Snowberry, Red Flowering Currant and Sword Fern will anchor the denuded sloped areas, stabilize mature trees and enrich the soil, enabling it to absorb and filter storm water runoff from the Cathedral Park neighborhood.
FOBW volunteers, working with SOLV, have already begun restoration of a section of the woods that was fire scorched in a June 2009 storm. Many residents along this corridor are seizing this opportunity to join us in restoring the native understory and plant young White Oaks, since the fire threatened their homes and claimed some large trees. This kind of participation is one of the most fun and rewarding ways to get involved in a project that will make a real quality-of-life difference for local residents, nature lovers, and our wildlife friends.
Besides ongoing restoration efforts, FOBW offers walking tours of Baltimore Woods, and we welcome you to visit and become familiar with our local outdoor classroom in transition. To take a tour and learn more about the natural history, wildlife, native and non-native species of the area, sign up on our interest form.