Faces of Greenbelt – Alig Family

Marge and Ralph Alig

Marge and Ralph Alig

What do you enjoy about this community?

We have lived in Corvallis twice, first for 3 years in the early 1980s, and the second time since 1990. We enjoy the civic spirit and friendliness of the community, its many opportunities for community involvement, as well as its fostering of the arts, education, science, bike-friendliness, and environmental health.

What made you become a supporter of the protection of open spaces?

We both had careers in natural resources and in our work saw the importance of land conservation and management that provides communities with connected and varying landscapes, aesthetic qualities,  quiet places, recreational and educational opportunities, and well-managed production of food, trees, and other products and services. Open space can mean different things to different people, and we see it as part of a balanced portfolio of land uses and an important part of a community’s green infrastructure.

Do you hike often? Where?

We love to hike! Hiking and birding are always part of our travel as well as our daily life here in the valley. We met in Colorado and return to the Rockies frequently for their beauty and high altitude challenges. This fall we topped two of Colorado’s “14ers,” Mt.Elbert and La Plata Peak. But it’s the WillametteValley we come home to. We look out at BaldHillPark from our house, and consider ourselves lucky to be there almost every day. We also spend time at Fitton Green, McDonaldForest, and Finley Wildlife Refuge.

Do you have a vision of how you like to see the Valley in 100 years? If so, what is it?

Intact ecosystems, well- functioning watersheds, good air and water quality, and lands well managed for societal interests are part of our vision. Human transformation of land will continue and ideally it will be done with a good scientific foundation for the sake of our grandchildren and other future generations. Enhancing environmental and natural features is part of that vision. A short motto is to strive to “leave it better than you found it.” Climate change and adaptation and mitigation opportunities will impact the Valley in ways that are difficult to predict over the next 100 years, and open space lands can be important contributors to sequestering greenhouse gases and reducing their concentration in the atmosphere. (Ralph)

I envision a time—hopefully in a lot less than 100 years—when homeowners have moved away from today’s “traditional” landscaping and create plantings that work with their neighbors’ to create broad landscapes to sustain all sorts of life. Ralph and I have been trying to move in that direction in the last few years on our own property. Large well-managed public land holdings are vital to community life and preserve valued habitats in ways that none of us could do on our own. But most land remains privately held. All of our little parcels—at both a micro-scale and when put together—are a great untapped resource for assisting with the tasks of protecting soil and water, and creating places for insects, birds, and other life to thrive. It’s another way of supporting the work of and partnering with our land trusts! (Marge)