Skinner Butte Habitat Enhancement

Example of habitat enhancement on Skinner Butte

Improving Natural Areas and Reducing Wildfire Risk

In 2018, Skinner Butte Park will continue to be the focus of significant habitat improvements and wildfire risk reduction. In the early fall of 2017, hand crews removed 550 cubic yards of fuel (largely non-native shrubs and small trees) on six acres on the south slope of the butte. A second round of habitat fuels reduction work will take place in the summer and early fall of 2018 primarily on the south and west slopes above Skinner Butte Loop.

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 on the south, west and east 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: A new trail is scheduled to be built in the near future. The timing of this summer's vegetation 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

The project is scheduled for the first week of September. However the work will only begin if local fire restrictions allow equipment to be used onsite with minimal risk of starting fire.


The project 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. Trails may be closed temporarily when workers are running equipment nearby. The approach from the west on Skinner Butte Loop Road will also be closed. We will have large trucks removing debris daily. Please do not enter areas marked as closed!


Throughout the project, visitors will be able to access the top of the butte by car from the east side (via West 3rd Avenue), as well as by foot on various trails.


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