Even within the Portland Metro Area, Three Creeks Natural Area is relatively unknown. Until recently, this 89-acre parcel of land situated at the confluence of three creeks (Mount Scott, Phillips and Deer Creek) has never had a true steward. In crude terms, the area surrounded by industry has long been a bastard property, both a source of controversy among Clackamas County officials and a victim of heavy pollution from its neighbors.
After approximately 20 years of equestrian use, the property was purchased by Clackamas County in the 1990s, and minor restoration began. It wasn't until 1999, however, that momentum and care for the property grew with the leadership of an all-volunteer consortium called the Tsunami Crew, which included folks from Friends of Trees, the county's Water Environmental Services, Friends of Kellogg and Mount Scott Creek, and the North Clackamas Urban Watershed Council.
Today, after nearly two decades of restoration and extremely hard work by area volunteers, the native wetland and old-growth oak upland habitat are thriving. In their continual Sunday morning efforts, the Tsunami Crew has planted over 21,000 native trees and have pulled invasive species such as Himalayan blackberry and Scotch broom. Willows have taken root, and a wetland prairie of native buttercups and camas dominate much of the natural area. The restored foliage has attracted wetland bird species such as the iconic red-winged blackbird, with its distinctive warble sound.
As you visit the park, you'll find that there are still no official trails. Feel free to wander and explore this new and improved urban wetland and oak forest sanctuary.