New parks provide more opportunities for people to connect with nature close to home. Throughout the past year, Metro built two new parks that are now open: Newell Creek Canyon Nature Park in Oregon City and Chehalem Ridge Nature Park, just south of Forest Grove.
Projects begin with reviewing the scientific and cultural resources. Staff then map each site to identify areas compatible with visitor access and areas where sensitive habitat and cultural resources would make trails or development unsuitable. Extensive conversations with community members, partners and stakeholders enable the improvements to provide accessible, nature-based experiences and visitor amenities, while also incorporating opportunities for habitat restoration, volunteering, nature education and more.
Building new parks often takes years. After a thoughtful planning process, the Metro Council needs to approve a formal master plan for a site. Design, engineering and construction drawings must then be completed, land-use and development permits need to be approved, and money for construction and long-term operations must be secured before construction can begin.
In addition to new destinations like Newell Creek Canyon and Chehalem Ridge, Metro continues to make improvements at its 19 other parks and boat ramps. Park improvement projects aim to upgrade aging facilities, improve sustainability features, and enhance safety and security, as was the case with this year’s project to build new docks and a gangway at the popular Chinook Landing Marine Park.
Planning also began for major construction projects at Blue Lake Regional Park. A route was surveyed for a water line that will connect the park to Fairview’s water system, which in turns sets up other major improvement projects scheduled to begin in 2022 at the beloved park.
Newell Creek Canyon Nature Park
Right in the heart of Oregon City, Newell Creek Canyon Nature Park is a haven of woods and waterways, providing neighbors and the region with a new place to connect with nature close to home. The 236-acre forested park features a multi-use trail system that provides 2.5 miles of walking and hiking paths and nearly 2 miles of dedicated mountain biking trails.
Newell Creek Canyon is part of the homelands of Indigenous peoples who have stewarded this region since time immemorial. The park was built because voters – including many neighbors – chose to invest in nature by approving parks and nature bond measures in 1995, 2006 and 2019, and a levy renewal. Those investments pay for the ongoing work at the park and other Metro parks and natural areas around the region.
On any given trip to Newell Creek, lucky visitors might see animals like beavers, red fox and black-tailed deer, along with pileated woodpeckers and cottontail rabbits. Whether it’s an all-day exploration of the park’s trails, a quick off-road bike ride down the side of the canyon, or a leisurely picnic at the accessible day-use area, Newell Creek Canyon is waiting to welcome you.
From “Opening soon: Newell Creek Canyon Nature Park”