Local parks: why they matter and where to find them

Local parks are a welcoming third space, meaning a space defined as a place people spend their time that is not school or work. They protect cities from harsh environmental impact, provide recreational opportunities for locals, and increase property values. Parks need to be used for the governments that fund them to justify the continuation of these public spaces. From giant national parks to small local playgrounds, parks provide a place for people to relax. Roughly 24% of local high school students said they have not visited a local park within the last month according to a survey conducted by wlhsNOW. So what local parks does West Linn have, and why do people go there?


1. Willamette Park

Willamette park, located on the intersection of Willamette Drive and Lewis Street, directly overlooks the Willamette river. It is a quiet park most of the year. During the Fourth of July it is the sight of a massive display of fireworks during Independence Day observation, attracting hundreds of people every year. When it is not hosting major events, it has amenities such as a playground, wifi, athletic fields, loading dock for boats, and a spray park during the summer months. Audrey Krake, freshman, visits Willamette park during the school year.

“[I go there] to get away from my house and try out a new environment.” Krake said.

2. Mary S. Young Park

Rhys Davis, junior, is a member of the track and field and cross country teams.  

“I usually visit  because they provide a good place to run during cross country or track practice,” Davis said.

Mary S. Young is one of the most tranquil and peaceful park on this list. This deeply forested park is a favorite among hikers, birdwatchers, or anyone who is a fan of wildlife. Featuring beautiful sights and miles of trail it is the perfect place to get in touch with nature. It has a shelter that can be reserved, swim spots on the Willamette river, sports fields, and a dock.

3. North Willamette Park

This 7 acre park features pickleball, tennis, and basketball courts. Located on the end of Rosemary and Matheny Drive this park is a popular place for recreational sports. Also featuring a permanent restroom and small roofed area it is a nice place to visit with family.

4. Camassia Nature Reserve

Run and maintained by the nature conservancy, this reserve, spanning a whopping 22 acres, is beloved by local conservationists. Created to help preserve the land and wildlife of local Oregon it fulfills its job. A big attraction for hikers, although many trails are narrow and overgrown with plant life, Camissa features many different species of local flora and fauna.  Iris Hochstettler, freshman, visits the quiet nature reserve.

“[I go there] for some alone time,” Hochestettler said. 

5. Cedar Island

Cedar Island is a 14 acre island located on the Willamette river. A popular visiting spot for families, this park features many opportunities for wildlife viewing, hiking trails, and fishing platforms. It is available to pedestrians from a floating bridge all year except for winter, and also features boat access.

6. West Linn skate park

This park is a popular place for teens. Sitting on the intersection of Wildrose and Nomie Way, it features numerous rails, ledges, a shallow pit and a four stair. You can find skateboarders and roller skaters there from the hours of 9:00 AM—8:00 PM. 

7. Midhill Park

This 7 acre park is popular among people in the neighborhood where it is located. A small nature oriented place is located on Upper Midhill Drive.  It offers a small playground,  picnic tables, and trails in small forested areas.

8. Bernet Landing

 This semi-secluded park is only two acres in size. Usually only frequented by the people in the neighboring houses, this small beautiful park is a perfect place to view the river. It offers a loading dock for boats and a deck to overlook the river.