- Landscape Architecture
- Master Planning
- Brownfield recovery site
- Native plants & wildlife habitat
- Historic preservation
Nestled in the Elkhorn Range of the Blue Mountains, Sumpter Valley Dredge State Park is the site of what was once a booming gold mining operation. Now over fifty years later, the three-story dredge and its 80-acre surroundings have been preserved to provide a link to Oregon’s industrial past. Miles of dredge tailings in the valley left by decades of gold extraction have resulted in vast earthworks that now hold both historical interest and wildlife habitat value. Over time, giant cobbled berms of tailings from the mining operations evolved through nature’s processes into a series interconnected wetlands inhabited by many species of mammals, insects, reptiles and birds.
Preservation of the historic dredge and tailings are critical to tell this aspect of Oregon’s story; yet allowing the native landscape to evolve is also a significant goal. The landscape architects at Mayer/Reed understood the need to limit human use and focus the visitor experience while expanding habitat. The master plan illustrates site improvements that include a narrow gauge railroad and depot, visitor area at the dredge site, picnic grounds, gold panning beach for kids, a system of pathways and landscape restoration areas. An interpretive center integrates the historic town of Sumpter with the park.