Fitton Green Natural Area, sitting on a prominent grassy bald above Philomath, was acquired with funding assistance from land protection leaders and Greenbelt founders Charlie and Elsie Fitton Ross in 1988, and grew with several acquisitions over 10 years. Greenbelt Land Trust retains a conservation easement over 143 acres of the 308 acre Natural Area, and works alongside Benton County Natural Areas and Parks on the management of this important community property.
Located in the foothills of the Oregon Coast Range, Fitton Green contain a mix of forest sites, including productive Douglas-fir clad slopes, lush mixed riparian forests, oak woodlands and savannas, and moss-draped maple groves, with old forest remnants, well-managed conifer stands, young plantations, and open meadows of rare upland prairie.
The property provides habitat for regionally significant populations of rare Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly, as well as cougar, elk, woodpeckers, raptors, and many common species such as coyote, songbirds, and black-tail deer.
Fitton Green Natural Area is part of an extensive network of protected lands creating a conservation footprint over 1,200 acres, including Bald Hill Farm, Bald Hill Natural Area, and Lupine Meadows.
The protection of Fitton Green Natural Area was really a broad community effort over an expanse of 10 years. Funding for the initial purchase was donated by Charles and Elsie Ross, who believed in a vision of land protection at the City’s edges. Additional partners include landowners (Smith, Moorefield, Bolte, Williamson), private funders in our community, and the Benton County Natural Areas and Parks Department.
Fitton Green is protected and managed by Benton County Natural Areas and Parks in partnership with Greenbelt Land Trust for a mix of hardwood forests, oak woodlands, oak savanna, prairie, and riparian habitats. The site is a remarkable representation of the natural and cultural landscape of the foothills of the Coast Range and the Marys River watershed. Outstanding opportunities are afforded for environmental stewardship, education and research, and public enjoyment and appreciation. With these qualities, the site has the potential to become a prototype for public open space management in Oregon.
Fitton Green Natural Area is publicly accessible. For a full list of trails, visit The Right Trail – your local resource for trails in Benton County!