IMPORTANT: Second Survey on the Future of the Bear Creek Greenway.

As many of you know, there is currently an effort, called Envision Bear Creek, to plan for the future management of the Bear Creek Greenway. Earlier this year, an online survey was conducted to gather information on the experiences and priorities of Greenway users. RVAS as an organization and many individual members provided input emphasizing the importance of the Greenway as habitat for birds and other wildlife and as critical protection for Bear Creek. Envision Bear Creek has taken the responses to the first survey and used them to frame a second survey, which is available through September 18 September 25 at: https://envisionbearcreek.com/.

It is very important for everyone who treasures the wildlife values of the Greenway to respond to this second survey. It appears that concerns about safety dominated the first survey responses, and this second survey is heavily skewed to address those concerns. While public safety is certainly an issue in the urban segments of the Greenway (primarily in Medford and Central Point), we need to send the message to Envision Bear Creek that the wildlife values of the Greenway must also be valued and protected. A “one-size-fits-all” plan that emphasizes heavy vegetation removal, lighting, and safety patrols is not appropriate – yet that appears to be the approach favored by the questions this survey asks. You can spell out an alternate vision in the “More Information” boxes after each survey question. Remember, the survey deadline is September 18 September 25 (deadline has been extended).

It is vital that the Envision Bear Creek project takes into account the diversity of the Greenway: its very different urban and rural stretches. We believe these should be the priorities for the Greenway outside the urban landscape of Medford and Central Point:

  • · Replant, retain and promote native vegetation while controlling noxious weeds.
  • · Preserve non-hazardous snags and downed wood for wildlife and salmon, thus helping regenerating vegetation and retaining moisture and shade.
  • · Require all property owners, both public and private, to follow state laws protecting riparian zones for fish and wildlife.
  • · Fuels reduction work should be done carefully, preserving native trees and shrubs, avoiding the introduction of new noxious weeds, and ideally conducted outside of bird-breeding season.
  • · Recognize that while lighting may be appropriate along some urban stretches of the Greenway, it is not beneficial for wildlife, pollinators or seeing the night sky. If lighting is installed, only “dark sky certified” downward-directed lighting should be used.