Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are bicycles allowed on the trails?

A: No. Please leave bicycles in the parking lot and explore the trails on foot. 

Q: Are dogs allowed at Fernhill?

A: No. Even the best behaved dogs may be a threat to the birds and wildlife that nest, rest and feed at Fernhill.

Q: Is it okay to feed the ducks?

A: No. Bread is poor nourishment for ducks and geese. If you want to help the wildlife, volunteer for the habitat improvement projects.

Q: Are bald eagles nesting at Fernhill?

A: The bald eagles are present at Fernhill. Sometimes they choose to use another nest west of Fern Hill Road near Gales Creek.

Q: What is the distance of the trails at Fernhill?

A: The main loop around Fernhill Lake is 1.1 miles. As the Fernhill project continues, trails may change.

Q: Are the trails at Fernhill ADA accessible?

A: The Water Garden trails and connecting trail from the public parking lot are ADA accessible.

Q: Who owns Fernhill Wetlands?

A: Clean Water Services owns more than 750 acres that include the areas commonly called Fernhill Wetlands. The publicly-accessible areas are managed in cooperation with the City of Forest Grove parks staff and the Fernhill Wetlands Council.

Q: Is Clean Water Services building a park?

A: No, the trails and bridges allow people to view the treatment wetlands and Water Garden.

Q: What purpose is served by the Water Garden?

A: It is part of the natural treatment wetlands that will cool and aerate water that has been cleaned at the wastewater facility before the water returns to the Tualatin River. We are managing flows per DEQ approval, using Class A reuse water from the Rock Creek treatment facility in Hillsboro and eventually from the Forest Grove facility. We hope the waterfalls will be flowing in 2017.

Q: How much did this cost?

A: Over the next few years, about $18 million will be spent on natural treatment systems. This is a bargain compared to the cost of upgrading the treatment facility, and will save ratepayers about $13 million. The benefits to birds, wildlife, visitors and the community are a bonus.

Q: Why are non-native plants in the Water Garden?

A: A few Colorado blue spruce and specimen plants are focal points for the landscaping, but they are NOT invasive species and will provide shelter and food for birds and wildlife. Most of the specimen trees are native shore pines.

Q: Why are some of the trails mowed?

A: In areas overrun with invasive non-native plants, mowing is a necessary step to make room for re-vegetation with native plants that will provide better habitat for birds and wildlife.

Q: Why are some of the trees in the Water Garden crooked?

A: Renown landscape architect Hoichi Kurisu designed and oversaw the planting in the Water Garden, and intentionally placed the trees to draw the eye. He is shaping the trees with twine and supports that will be removed when the root systems of the trees are established. Any trees that die will be replaced.

Q: Who maintains the parking lot, picnic shelter, rest room and trails?

A: Clean Water Services and the City of Forest Grove parks staff share this work. To report a concern, please call (503) 681-3600.

Q: How can I help care for Fernhill?

A: Be a good steward, leave no trace of your visit, and do not disturb the birds and wildlife. Contact Friends of Fernhill Wetlands at

Q: How can I learn more?

A: Please visit or call (503) 681-3600.