Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve is an expansive 635 acre complex of wetlands and uplands cooperatively managed by the City of Hillsboro Parks & Recreation Department. The Preserve is located in the heart of Washington County within the Tualatin River floodplain, part of a vast complex of open space, wildlife corridors, and lowlands reaching from Fernhill Wetlands in Forest Grove to the Tualatin Wildlife Refuge in Sherwood. The Preserve is a nationally recognized education center, with four miles of trails open to the public for hiking and wildlife viewing. The survival of the Preserve is a result of a remarkable partnership between individuals, businesses, and government agencies who see the wetlands as an irreplaceable community asset.
Water is the Lifeline
Water defines the Pacific Northwest. Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve plays a critical role in the region’s water cycle, acting as a large biofiltration “sponge.” The intertwining roots, leaves and fibers of the dense plant life remove sediment and pollutants from the water before it returns to the Tualatin River. When floodwaters overflow the river’s banks, the porous soils and plants soak up excess water then let it seep slowly back into the river system to help prevent downstream flooding.
Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve, in collaboration with Clean Water Services and other agencies, continues to work to improve water quality and enhance the natural resources within this portion of the Tualatin River floodplain. Wetland restoration projects and water quality monitoring are ongoing to promote healthy wetland areas and provide diverse habitat for plants and animals.
A Tranquil Wildlife Sanctuary
The quiet open waters, rolling meadows, wetland areas and upland forests provide habitat for over 130 species of birds that reside and migrate through the Preserve. A nesting pair of bald eagles and a great blue heron rookery attest to the success of habitat restoration efforts. Over a dozen kinds of mammals including deer, river otter, beaver and coyote may also be found on the Preserve, along with frogs, salamanders and garter snakes.
A Chronicle of Caring People
The Preserve has always been a special place. Native American people used the rich bottomland as a place to gather food and to hunt. Early settlers homesteaded the upland areas. The lowlands were ditched and drained for agriculture and cattle grazing. In the 1970s, dedicated individuals began improving the wetlands to increase wildlife habitat.
Every year, thousands of children, bird watchers, university staff, researchers and families visit the Preserve and participate in the programs and services provided by Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve staff and volunteers.