There are probably people who, like me, who tend to take some of our local special places for granted. Special places like Shevlin Park.
The Park is an amazing resource, a haven I've always appreciated but gained renewed respect recently when I took a couple of hours with a friend to just wander the Park marveling in the warm glow of sun on the aspen leaves and the Tamaracks now adorned with their furry yellow needles.
In truth, it was like it was like being a whole new space. A space I really hadn't taken the time to slow down and appreciate given that I'd always either run or mountain biked along the rim trail or used the Park trails as an access to the Mrazek Trail.
But there the Park was resplendent in the bright sunlight of a perfect Indian Summer day. Paradise regained.
One of the more interesting new aspects of Shevlin Park is the number of huge trees that were downed in last year's big windstorm. Huge is not hyperbole here. Some massive old lodgepole pine came crashing down and the stumps that remain after the clearing work are impressive.
A bit about the history of the Park. It was given to the City by the Shevlin-Hixon timber company in 1921 in honor of the company’s late president, Thomas L. Shevlin.
Unfortunately the terrain around the then 280-acre park had been heavily logged and the starkness of the resulting clearcuts discouraged Bend's citizens from using the new park. It fell into disuse.
That changed in 1931 when the City purchased the trout hatchery (site of the current Aspen Hall) and added it to the Park. Now the Park became popular with locals.
Sometime in the mind-1970s, the recently formed Bend Metro Park and Recreation District took over Shevlin Park from the City and grew it into its present size of over 600 acres.
600 acres that sees, on a typical day, runners, walkers, hikers, birders, photographers, mountain bikers and gaggles of moms with strollers enjoying its confines.
May it always be so.