One of Portland's best known attributes is the easy access to all kinds of spectacular nature. Mountains, rivers, the Columbia River Gorge and the Oregon Coast are all within an easy drive from the city. One of Portland's best kept secrets is the abundance of natural areas in the metro area itself, including forests, wetlands and meadows close to downtown. Urban naturalist Mike Houck has been on a mission for years to protect and promote the city's hidden natural treasures. Over a decade ago he collaborated with M.J. Cody on a collection of natural history essays and nature rambles by foot, bike and boat, that introduced places where you can experience peak moments of nature right inside or close to the city.