This innovative park is a free-to-the-public outdoor educational facility that illustrates the long and varied history of planet Earth and Ashland geology's place in that history. An orientation sign explains the layout of the park and tells how visitors can explore different aspects of geologic time. An on-site Visitor Booklet presents information to accommodate varied levels of learning and interest. The main message the park intends to convey is that our planet and the life on it have changed dramatically through time.
Several different time walks are labeled within the park. In each time walk, tile art, landscaping, and interpretive signs help visitors understand how animal and plant life has changed, how continents have moved, the times of ice ages, and the causes of mass extinctions. Signs along the way describe in detail plate tectonics, mass extinctions, evolution, and local Ashland geology. Large boulders (some containing fossils) are laid out across one side of the park to reflect the actual order of their occurrence in Bear Creek Valley. Replicas of animal tracks impressed into the concrete walkways show how trilobites, early land animals and dinosaurs moved across the land. Visits to the Geology Park can vary from a few minutes to several hours, depending on how deeply visitors wish to explore.
Briscoe Geology Park is located a few short blocks north of the downtown plaza on the site of the old Briscoe Elementary School. Visitors can make the easy walk to the park by proceeding up North Main Street from the plaza to the traffic light at Laurel Street, turning left on Laurel and going one block to the intersection with High Street. There are no public restrooms at the site, but drinking fountains are available at the playground. In-depth information about the park has been published in the journal of the National Center for Science Education and presented at the 2009 Oregon Academy of Science convention.
Briscoe Geology Park is a cooperative venture among APRC, the Ashland School District, and community teachers, students, parents and volunteers. Field trips for grades 3-12 and group tours of the park can be arranged through the North Mountain Park Nature Center.