SALEM — State park rangers at State Capitol State Park in Salem have spent the last six months testing a variety of electric landscaping tools, part of a larger pilot program run by Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD.) The agency is using the popular urban park as a proving ground for the electric tools, which include hedge trimmers, leaf blowers, saws and ride-on mowers.
The battery-powered tools have completely replaced their gas cousins in the park. Reduced emissions are the main goal of the program, however the electric tools sport other advantages: lighter weight, less noise and easier maintenance.
Mike Hoffmann, a ranger at the park, says the new tools have been working out great so far.
“Park visitors have been very appreciative on how quiet the new tools are,” says Hoffmann. “And for us, the tools are easier to work with. And no exhaust fumes, which I’m sure the trees in the park appreciate too.”
Nearly 75 species of trees are planted on the park’s 21 acres that encompass the Capitol Building and surrounding area.
Based on the success at the Capitol, OPRD has plans to expand the electric tool program to include other state parks later this year, primarily in the Willamette Valley and Portland Metro area. If those locations go well too, the agency will work over the next several years to steadily replace gas-powered tools at parks throughout the state.