History and Nature Interwined at Champoeg State Park
Champoeg State Park, set along the verdant banks of the of the Willamette River, is the sit of a pioneer town of the 1840s where settlers gathered to talk shop and politics. Today it is a fine place to show off some of that history juxtaposed to the natural beauty of the area.
Seven miles west of I-5, the park’s quaint visitor’s center helps people get a feel for the area’s history and natural beauty. After I had my fill of displays explaining regional Native American linguistic influence, endangered wildlife species in the area, and settler arguments over government influence, I set out for a walk in the midday heat.
I started down a paved path along fields dotted with the largest hay bales I’d ever seen. Eventually I skirted a disc golf course, which seemed an anomaly in a state park, but why not?
There are a couple main day use areas. At each one, there were pint-sized campers, accompanied by a few adult counselors. The kids seemed excited to go by the river.
The water was certainly a shiny beacon, but I continued along a giant field, in the middle of which there was an apparent archaeological dig. The walking was mostly flat, so I was surprised to see few other walkers. There were actually more cyclists on the paved paths.
After a couple hours at Champoeg State Park, I came to appreciate it on a few levels. I was a great spot for historical reference, nature appreciation, hiking–even a game of disc golf. After sweating my way through the sun scorched open fields, I was mostly appreciative of my car’s air conditioning.