Riley Ranch Nature Reserve

Bend, OR
High Desert Storytelling 

A West Coast paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and vacationers, Bend, Oregon, has seen dramatic growth in the last quarter century. Such rapid development coincides with the need for the local government to ensure that parks and open spaces remain a vital resource and provide a tranquil getaway for visitors and residents.

Knot Studio’s role in this expansive, high desert gem was to develop a program of wayfinding, identity, and natural resource development. The park offers visitors an impressive array of activities— trails, riverfront access, and views of juniper trees, pine forests, lava flows, cliffs, and a rocky canyon. Knot Studio worked with Environmental Science Associates (ESA) of Portland, the landscape designer, to integrate community interests and stakeholder goals of balancing recreational use to be compatible with ecosystems.

The goal for Knot Studio and ESA was to compose a thoughtful design that placed amenities in an ecologically safe manner to complement the park’s dramatic views. While ESA worked with archeologists to gather historical usage information, which included a stagecoach line, Knot developed interpretive storylines including history, geology, and wildlife. Knot’s signage program integrates historic quotes onto benches — conveying centuries of knowledge and events to give visitors insight into the spectacular new park.

180 acres
Bend Parks and Recreation District
ESA Adolfson