Sisters’ next park will not contain play equipment or picnic tables. It will be a natural-habitat environment, featuring native plants, mountain views and, hopefully, butterflies.
At their April 4 meeting, members of the City Parks Advisory Board (CPAB) voted unanimously to approve the development of the newest city park as a restoration garden. The plot will serve as a demonstration garden for native plants and xeric (low-water) landscaping, while providing nectar-rich plants to attract pollinators.
The park will sit on a half-acre parcel of land adjacent to the Grand Peaks housing development on Camp Polk Road and the City’s well site in the light-industrial area. The developers dedicated that piece of land to the City to develop. Next to the park will be two private pickle-ball courts for use by residents of Grand Peaks. The park is for the public.
Benches will be installed to encourage sitting and enjoying the mountain view. Its proximity to the new Lodge at Sisters senior living facility makes it a viable walking destination for Lodge residents.
In January, Sisters Middle School teacher Susie Werts, naturalist Jim Anderson, and author Jean Russell Nave met with the CPAB and made a presentation about the plight of the monarch butterfly, offering suggestions of how the City could help restore vital pollinator habitat and ways to modify someCity practices that could improve butterfly and pollinator survival.
“Journey’s Flight” is the name of the book created by Nave and Werts’ middle school students following the release of their monarch butterflies, one of which made a record- setting migration. The students named the butterfly Journey and are continuing to study the importance of butterflies as pollinators.
At their April 4 meeting, the CPAB discussed a new park on the half-acre parcel and, taking the advice of Werts, Nave, and Anderson, decided to create a park that will be different from any other currently in the city. By planting it with native plants, it is hoped local residents will learn about and be encouraged to incorporate some indigenous plants that will attract pollinators into their own landscaping.
Plantings will include four vital nectar-producing native plants: local milkweed varieties, fall-blooming rabbit brush, hardy yarrow, and fragrant clover, all of which have been negatively impacted by development.
Those wanting to learn more about the importance of pollinators in the environment, and how to improve their own backyard for pollinators, can attend the free Western Monarch and Pollinators Spring Migration Celebration on May 5 at Sisters Middle School from noon to 3 p.m.