Meet Ingry! Our New Trails Manager
Forest Park Conservancy is thrilled to welcome our new Trails Manager, Ingry Thurow. Ingry’s hometown is right here in Portland and she brings a wealth of interesting experience to the role. In coordination with Portland Parks & Recreation, Ingry will oversee the maintenance of Forest Park's 47-miles of soft-surface trails and lead volunteers in fun and rewarding trail projects year-round. You'll be seeing a lot of Ingry on the trails this summer; so, to help you make her acquaintance, we asked her a few questions.
FPC: What brought you to the Forest Park Conservancy?
Ingry: After working retail for a couple of years as a teenager, I decided to sign up for a Northwest Youth Corps crew when I was eighteen and it totally changed my life. I hadn’t been exposed to the outdoors in a meaningful way before, and after my first week working and living with a youth crew in the pouring April rain I absolutely fell in love.
I built meaningful relationships quickly in an environment where we were dedicated to the shared cause of environmental conservation. I traveled to nine states for the next few years following similar opportunities and being welcomed into leadership roles as I went. I didn’t get a college degree, so I collected as many certifications as I could, including becoming a Wilderness EMT at nineteen. But I missed home when I was gone.
A program management position, a lot of knitting, and a stint directing a traditional skills camp later, I was drawn to FPC because I am able to be close to my community in Portland. Forest Park being my office means that I can work in the woods doing what I love and still see my family and friends regularly. FPC is also a small organization that feels really caring, both about the environment and about people—two things that are really inseparable. I’m glad to have landed here.
FPC: What will your work focus on while at the Forest Park Conservancy?
Ingry: Trails: improving them, maintaining them, leading volunteers and seasonal staff, helping to fund all that hard work, and introducing more people to the park and to the work we do. Trails are such an important part of Forest Park. Without them, you’d hardly know the place! And it turns out keeping them in good condition is just the right mix of challenging and fun.
FPC: Before working at the Forest Park Conservancy, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve had?
Ingry: I was a professional knitter with Morph Knitwear, which is otherwise a one-person “slow fashion” business. For years, after a long warm season of trail work and outdoor education, I would hunker down in the winter and knit sweaters, dresses, skirts, leggings and scarves by hand and on a manual machine. It taught me a lot about clothing design, natural fibers, and the impact the fast fashion industry has on the planet.
FPC: What is your favorite quote?
Ingry: “Where paths are steep, the mind levels.” -Meng Chiao
FPC: What is your personal favorite place in Forest Park? Is there a part of Forest Park you have heard about that you want to visit?
Ingry: I love the Northern end of the park in general. The trails are a little narrower and it’s a little easier to find solitude when you need it. And there are these big turns that follow the contour of the land into the natural draws. It’s in those places that I hear the most birds, and I’m always astonished, like “Whoa, this really is a temperate rainforest, isn’t it?”
When you see Ingry in the park, please be sure to give her a warm welcome! Or, if you see something on the trail that you'd like to report or praise, feel free to drop Ingry a line at Ingry@forestparkconservancy.org.