One of the hidden treasures of the OPRD system, this large park was once the home of Jason Lee’s Methodist mission. A ghost structure stands today to mark the approximate site of the mission which once overlooked the mainstem Willamette River before the channel shifted during the flood of 1861. Today the park overlooks a lake. The old channel can still be seen, and portions of the park still flood nearly every spring and winter. Before it was a park, much of the property was in agricultural use, and a hazelnut orchard can still be seen today. Portions of the park are still leased out for agricultural production.

This large park is well worth a stop. Camping on the gravel beach can be arranged through the park manager, and the park offers ample room to explore. The area is replete with wildlife and is seldom inundated by people, although folks from Salem are becoming more aware of its excellent offerings.

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  1. Two notes about this park if floating or rowing to this spot: Day use passes are $5, and if parking at the Filbert Grove parking lot, there is a short walk on a paved path through a disc golf course, and then a short unpaved path to the water, which could make carrying a kayak or canoe a hassle.

    We floated on inflatable tubes from Spongs Landing to this park on 8-13-16, took 2.5 hours and was very calm and easy, just one or two tree snags to look for that I remember and both you could see way ahead of time. Even on a hot day, a very peaceful float: passed by one kayaker and could see a few canoers ahead of us.

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