Pilot Butte needs better care

Denny Sullivan /


Published Oct 9, 2013 at 05:00AM / Updated Nov 19, 2013 at 12:31AM

Twenty plus years ago, I became a Pilot Butte volunteer and I will continue doing so.

Over the years, my partners and I have accomplished a lot without much money in order to promote the butte and for it to be known as one of the best scenic, fitness and memorial areas in the USA. But I’m sorry to say that in recent years we have accomplished very little and our fragile butte is rapidly being destroyed. We need help!

Why? True, the economy is a factor, but to many of us, it’s a lack of proper leadership. Oregon State Parks’ objectives and goals are good and the state does a great job addressing them, but they aren’t conducive to fitness, recreation, etc., elements that are present in the successful Bend Park & Recreation District programs.

Due to this fact, questions need to be answered. Is Pilot Butte in the district? Are some of the butte’s participants being shortchanged? Don’t they deserve some of the benefits a taxpayer should deserve?

With the answers in mind, I believe Bend Park & Recreation District must eventually take over responsibility for and maintenance of Pilot Butte, and Oregon State Parks should relinquish some of the administration of the butte. This request will be of no surprise to the District’s Don Horton. In the summer of 2012, I notified him of this suggestion.

Now I would like to briefly go over some other butte problems that exist and need to be addressed.

Closing automobile access to the road up the butte will eventually happen! We will have to start thinking of the future when the present parking lot can’t handle the abundance of car traffic. We’ve got to start now and plan for the best use of this valuable resource.

As things now stand, the butte is being destroyed! See for yourself: Check out the trails and the road up the butte. When you do, remember the butte is fragile, and every time someone steps off the trail, it’s a two-step slide backward.

Volunteers are needed to help monitor and maintain this area. Currently, just four of us are trying to take care of the butte.

Hopefully good news, a new group called Simply My Best is dedicated to representing the needs and interests of those who use the butte.

Oregon State Parks, Bend Park & Recreation and the school district must work together on opportunities galore: There will be benefits to national fitness and obesity programs; to the Audubon Society; and to parents, students and student-teacher relationships in working together on trails, an obstacle course, etc.

Larkspur Trail going through Pilot Butte’s park is halfway completed but very poorly done. This project needs to be finished and done right. The only thing accomplished on the trail was when a group of volunteers planted about 100 ponderosa pines in order to discourage thoughtless people from destroying the butte’s east side, and to beautify the future Larkspur Trail with a line of trees. The planting cost nothing.

In conclusion, I, as others, want the best for these topics. True, there are others who think differently and all views should be heard. To make this possible, I will be at the butte’s trailhead Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., to discuss these issues and more. Also during this time, I personally wish to challenge Bend Park & Recreation on my evaluation of the Larkspur Trail dilemma, etc.