This spring communities across the country will be celebrating the 200th birthday of Federick Law Olmsted, co-creator of New York City's Central Park and numerous subsequent parks. Writer, literary publisher, philosopher, abolitionist and committed social reformer, Olmsted created a public parks movement to ensure that all city residents would have easy access to a park or a park-like environment. His sons, John Charles and Frederick Law Jr. followed in their father's footsteps, and it is in part because of John Charles Olmsted that Portland has the celebrated parks system that we enjoy today.
On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with urban naturalist Mike Houck and Jim Sjulin, who serves on the board of directors for the 40-Mile Loop Land Trust, about the importance of John Charles Olmsted's legacy in Portland and what we can still learn from his vision of creating an integrated network of public parks and natural spaces within the city.
Mike Houck served as Audubon Society’s Urban Naturalist for 35 years. Later he co-founded the Coalition for a Livable Future and more recently The Intertwine Alliance and the international The Nature of Cities. He founded and directed the Urban Greenspaces Institute in 1999.
Jim Sjulin was horticulturist and gardener for Portland Parks and Recreation and became steward of natural areas, including Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge and the city’s other natural areas until retiring. Jim has since served on the board of directors for the 40-Mile Loop Land Trust.