Ryan McHugh

Pilot Butte Partners have procured donations that upgraded stonework on the summit and developed the triangle in the east side parking area.

We, the Pilot Butte Partners Board, would like to thank Denny Sullivan for writing the In My View about Pilot Butte State Park that was published by the Bulletin on Oct. 9.

We share many of the concerns that Sullivan’s article raises about Pilot Butte State Park and would like to take this opportunity to introduce our nonprofit organization, Pilot Butte Partners, to the community.

Pilot Butte Partners is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization with the mission of assisting in maintaining, enhancing and improving Pilot Butte State Park.

Pilot Butte is currently one of the most visited state parks in Oregon, with nearly 900,000 visitors each year and is also designated as a state scenic viewpoint. It has a long history that includesuse as a landmark for early wagon train drivers seeking a safe crossing of the Deschutes River, a grazing area for early livestock, a ski jump, the launch site for Bend’s annual Fourth of July firework show and many recreational and fitness opportunities. Pilot Butte is also an extinct volcano, and Bend is one of only three cities in the United States with a volcano located within city limits. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department primarily focuses its limited workforce and funds on state parks that have overnight use or fee areas — and Pilot Butte State Park is neither.

One goal of Pilot Butte Partners is to raise funds specifically for projects at Pilot Butte State Park through private donations and the new annual Butte Burner Charity Run/Walk, held on the butte each summer. Our board members have developed working relationships with the city of Bend, OPRD, Bend Park & Recreation District and Leadership Bend.

Sullivan’s article addresses some of the concerns that many people, including our organization, share about Pilot Butte. Pilot Butte Partners is in the process of exploring ways to improve safety on the summit road for both drivers and hikers, finish and upgrade rockwork at the summit, and facilitate other small projects to benefit park users.

In the past, Pilot Butte Partners have procured donations that upgraded stonework on the summit and developed the triangle in the east side parking area. We believe there is much more that can be done to maintain, enhance and improve Pilot Butte.

A second goal of Pilot Butte Partners is to be the nonprofit entity through which citizens can bring their ideas and suggestions for Pilot Butte and provide cash or in-kind donations to help with our mission. Citizens can reach us by email at buttevolunteers@yahoo.com, in writing at P.O. Box 1792, Bend, OR 97709 (to which donations also can be sent), or by attending our bimonthly board meetings. We meet on the first Thursday every other month — the next meeting is set for 3-5 p.m. on Nov. 7 at UBS Financial Services on Columbia Street in Bend. Please visit our Facebook page to learn more and see photographs of some of the work that has been completed by Pilot Butte Partners and the wonderful people who love Pilot Butte.

Whether you hike, run, drive up the Butte or simply admire it as a local landmark, please let us know how we can help maintain, enhance and improve this unique and special place that our local community cherishes.