Skinner Butte Habitat Enhancement

wildflowers next to trail at skinner butte

Improving Natural Areas and Reducing Wildfire Risk

In early 2020, Skinner Butte Park will continue to be the focus of significant habitat improvements and wildfire risk reduction. In 2017 and 2018, hand crews removed over 1,000 cubic yards of fuel (largely non-native shrubs and small trees) on over 14 acres on the south and west slopes above Skinner Butte Loop Road and east slope below the road. The upcoming round of habitat fuels reduction work will take place in February of 2020 primarily on the south slopes below the Loop Road, in areas that we were unable to get to previously.

Before and After Photos

The "before" photos, left, were taken in 2017 prior to the first round of fuels reduction. The "after" photos, right, were taken in 2018. More before and after photos.

Skinner Butte habitat restoration before photo
Skinner Butte habitat restoration after photo
Skinner Butte habitat restoration before photo
Skinner Butte habitat restoration after photo

Project goals 

  • Improve habitat for native plants and animals: Removing invasive shrubs and small trees will release larger trees from canopy crowding and provide the appropriate conditions to encourage native understory plants. This will help protect the large trees that are found on this part of Skinner Butte, and also provide habitat for native plants and animals that are an important part of the Southern Willamette Valley.
  • Reduce wildfire risk: Removing dense, overgrown vegetation and small dead cedars on the south slopes will decrease the chance of a wildfire reaching the tree canopy and will improve the Eugene-Springfield Fire Department’s ability to respond to a fire. These actions improve safety for neighboring residences, businesses and park visitors, and will help protect Skinner Butte in the long term.
  • Facilitate public access: Several new trails are scheduled to be built along the south side of Skinner Butte. The timing of this winter’s vegetation removal will help facilitate trail siting and improve the efficiency of both projects by reducing timing conflicts.
  • Work with Our Partners: Work with partners including Eugene-Springfield Fire Department, Rotary Club of Eugene, and other interested parties to help ensure Skinner Butte continues to be a wonderful place for people to enjoy.

Timeline

Work will most likely take place in late January to early February and will take approximately 1-2 weeks to complete. Work will occur on weekdays only between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.


Closures

For public safety, the work zones will be closed, as needed. Trails may be closed temporarily when workers are running equipment nearby. Both Skinner Butte Loop Road between the climbing columns and the intersection with 3rd Ave and 3rd Ave between the final private driveway and the intersection with Skinner Butte Loop may be alternately closed for brief periods to allow for brush removal. Throughout the project, visitors will be able to access the top of the butte by car, as well as by foot on various trails. For your own safety, please do not enter areas marked as closed!


Funding

The project is funded, in part, by Community Assistance funding from the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM is also funding work this summer in other city-owned natural areas to reduce the risk of wildfire, including Suzanne Arlie Park and Coryell Ridge.


Learn more

Short URL for this page: www.eugene-or.gov/skinnerbutteproject