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Pilot Butte State Scenic Viewpoint

In 2004 Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) launched an ambitious effort to develop model sustainable park practices that can be monitored, evaluated and replicated in other state parks.  These sustainable practices include efforts to reduce waste, eliminate hazardous substances, achieve climate neutrality, enhance ecosystem function and share information with all stakeholders. This endeavor allowed Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to test sustainable practices in both new and more established parks in terms of start-up cost, maintenance expenses, reduction of resource use and cost savings as well as effectiveness of learning by the public.

Two state parks in Central Oregon – Tumalo State Park and Pilot Butte State Scenic Viewpoint – were selected as test sites.  Oregon State Parks Foundation spearheaded the “Sustainable Parks” campaign, which raised $155,000 for the following projects that promote sustainability:

  • Upgrade an irrigation system for water conservation
  • Implement comprehensive recycling programs
  • Install solar efficient upgrades (e.g. meeting hall, yurts, picnic shelter)
  • Purchase an electric vehicle for park maintenance operations
  • Build interpretive exhibits and programs in both parks

Pilot Butte State Scenic Viewpoint showcases a panoramic view of the Cascade Mountain peaks and the surrounding high desert from the summit of an old cinder cone. Its trail system connects with a regional trail.  In the early years, the site provided a great service to adventurers as a guiding landmark. Today locals and visitors flock to the park for exceptional hiking opportunities and truly picturesque views.