michael stahl, January 26, 2012 (view all comments by michael stahl)
I now pronounce me an expert on parks and field guides. After all I spend countless hours every week at home and during travels in parks I look primarily for birds and secondarily for all material that found itself there naturally. I photograph nature and take this data home to study it with one or more of the 39 Field Guides in my den. I love parks and field guides and so I am an expert.
Well enough about me. It was a pleasure to get the details of Portland’s huge Forest Park in the conceit of a Field Guide. Having never been to Portland, this book allowed me to fantasize about a walk on any of the 29 paths in this 5,100 acre park. The conditions on the trails are quite divergent both in ecological conditions and rigor. She details the flora and fauna that can be found in each mini environment so a rugged hiker or a bird watcher can determine which will suit them on any day.
The book has photos and checklists for the student or list maker and they are helpful for those who want to take notes on the ecosystem for data collecting or simply the joy of learning. It also has didactive sections informing the reader of the history of the park (it is not that old) and its geology.
There are some value-added features that help make it an enjoyable read. There are sidebars that inform the reader about trail names and the people they are named for. In addition to the detailed stories of the trails individually there is a fold out map of the entire park.
Next summer when I am again on the West Coast it seems that I will have to make a side trip to Portland so that I can experience Forest Park first hand.
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