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Date:  December 18, 2004

Location  Willamette Mission Park Hike

Where:  Willamette Mission State Park


nation's largest black cottonwood

The fog departed from its long stay in the Willamette Valley this Saturday morning to reveal blue sky, and I realized I didn't have to go far to hike in the sunshine. It occurred to me that I might try exploring trails in the near by Willamette Mission State Park. I have recently purchased a 12-month Oregon State Parks Day-Use permit and now find new freedom to explore Oregon State Parks. I must confess that in the past the $3.00 Day-Use fee has caused me to skip hiking in the two closest State Parks, Silver Falls, and Willamette Mission. With the new 12-month pass I feel like I suddenly have many new miles of free trails to hike.

Willamette Mission State Park is located 10 miles north of Salem on the original site where Jason Lee started the Methodist Mission in Oregon. The 1,680-acre park now contains miles of trails and the world's largest black cottonwood tree.

I took the 2.5-mile Willamette Vision Educational Trail and found the area full of bird life. Canada Geese were foraging in the fields, a flock of Tundra Swans flew overhead, Song Sparrows were thick in the trailside brush, Jays searched about, and a unique Red-breasted Sapsucker made an appearance.

Song Sparrow

Red-breasted Sapsucker