History

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Virginia Way & John Cotton 1939

The park emerged in 1995 through The Way Foundation, a public charitable trust, founded by the family of Virginia Way and John Cotton of Ashland, Oregon. The Way Foundation's primary purpose is to create an active community legacy with two and one-half square miles of mountainside timberland.

The civic involvement of John and Virginia Cotton was well known in their day. Active in service clubs, non-profit boards and community activities from the 1950's through the 1990's, the Cottons played significant roles in the respective evolutions of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Jackson County Public Health, the Ashland Public Library, Southern Oregon University, Ashland Parks and Recreation, and Ashland, Oregon's Downtown Redevelopment Plan.

Eleven years ago, John and Virginia's grown children chose to continue their parent's commitment to their Southern Oregon community. They created the Way Foundation ("Way”was Virginia's maiden name), and turned the 1680 acres formerly associated with John Cotton's lumber business, into a quasi-public park.