Willamette Mission State Park
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.