Just outside Wilsonville, there is a tree farm and experimental forest that is owned by the World Forestry Center in Portland. This is a place where forestry is actually demonstrated to the public, outside the confines of museum buildings owned by the forestry center.
There are several hiking trails that lead up through the woods on steep slopes, and a rushing stream passes through the low central part of the forest. The central trail to the forest is paved, but the trails that explore the forest over the longest distance are not paved. There is a spring that was once a favorite of one of the family members that lived here.
Near the top of the hill is an old forest fire lookout, but the tower is generally off limits to visitors.
There are several cabins for staying the night and an educational center, but those are generally only open to educational groups.
If you are visiting late in the afternoon, or are passing through in the evening, take a moment to listen for the owls. They are known (and I have heard them first hand!) to unleash their spooky cry here.
Gates close at 5 at night, so mind your watches!
One of the most recent parks to open in the Portland area, Graham Oaks Nature Park preserves some important habitat in the Wilsonville area, including some heavy forest, open savanna, and some oak trees, one of which is quite huge.
The area isn't huge and it is mostly flat, and from most of the area you can see the entire expanse of the land.
Parts of the trails are open for dog walking, but much of the area isn't open for dogs as their smell interferes with wildlife activity.
There are approximately two miles of trails that make a loop around the park with some connection to surrounding areas, including huge new residential developments and a nearby school.
There is one picnic shelter and a number of benches scattered through the area. There are also maps posted at each trail intersection. The orientation of the map changes to reflect the viewing angle of the person looking at the map, so these signs do not always show north at the top.
The park is operated by the Metro Service District, and their web site is below. Check for Places and Activities -> Places to Go -> Graham Oaks Nature Park
Wilsonville has a number of public sculptures. While not as extensive a public works effort as much larger cities, it is impressive considering the size and nature of Wilsonville.
A public fountain in City Center Park and the Murase Plaza Fountain are two examples that have already been mentioned. So is the pubic artwork associated with City Center Park (though only briefly mentioned in the tip about City Center Park). City Center Park also has sculptures associated with the Oregon Korean Veterans Memorial.
Many other buildings in Wilsonville, particularly government owned ones, have sculptures associated with them.
Places to look, besides some of the public parks, include areas around the library, the police and public works building, and city hall.
"Fly With the Sun" and "Euphoria" are located on the grounds of the public works and police buildings. "Look - Up" is located in a plaza that is very easy to miss that sits behind the city hall.
To me, the most interesting of Wilsonville's public art, and yet also the hardest to find because it is very hidden, is the intricate tile mural at the Wilsonville Public Library. On the west side of the library, there is a hill. The library is cut into this hill, and thus a retaining wall was built. A small sidewalk leads through a gate and to the foot of this impressive tile mural on the wall, that discusses the value of libraries and books. (see photo 4). You can also see this mural from inside the library by looking out two of the windows in the western wall of the library.
Despite its appearance from the freeway of being yet another bit of suburban wasteland, Wilsonville has been attempting to increase its arts and culture aspect.
One part of that has been starting an annual arts festival, located in City Center Park. The bad news is that this event gets very little publicity.
There are a number of local artists that come, and it is good to pay them a visit.
Also, there are also some very good artists developing in the school system, and there is usually a booth showing off their art work.
Usually the show is in late May or early June.
Murase Plaza is part of the much larger Memorial Park, which is covers a fairly extensive area. Murase Plaza is the small section of the northwest corner of the park, and is closest to the busy roads.
However, despite the location close to the busiest roads nearest the park, it is also the location where a really nice wading fountain has been built. While the fountain doesn't really make too much sense during a cold day, it is a wonderful place for children to play (so long as you guard against wandering out into the busy roads).
The water falls from sone walls in a number of locations, as well as there being a number of jets that come up out of one of the walkways. The water cascades down the hill a short distance before being pumped back up into the top.
The water is chlorinated (it smells like swiming pool water) to keep those who play in the water from contaminating it, and to otherwise keep the water healthy.
This park is Wilsonville's oldest and largest park, and includes some 126 acres of land (including the area that was rededicated as Murase Plaza in 2006). There are trails, picnic areas, playgrounds, sports fields, an off-leash dog area, a fountain that people explore during hot days, and a forested wilderness area along the Willamette River. Community Gardens are on the very far east side of the park.
The park features a dedicated skateboard area, and the small hills in the park are popular with skateboards as well.
The area along the Willamette River also features a pier from which it is possible to fish, and for those arriving by boat it is possible to tie up here as well.
While there isn't much here of special interest to tourists, it is very close to Interstate 5, and thus may be a good place to stop and relax, get some exercise, and allow the kids or dog to walk around a little bit.
There are signs in a number of places warning people that no lifeguard is on duty, and therefore you swim in the fountain (only 1 inch deep) or the river (very very deep) at your own risk.
Located just off of Interstate 205, the idea was for Clackamas County to take its largest city located on I-5 and produce a good information center for those coming to visit the Portland area.
Here's some Problems.
1. Most of Portland proper is located in Multnomah County. While Clackamas County has stuff to see and do, it isn't the major visitor draw that the city of Portland is.
2. The visitors center is not open 24-hours, so it is quite conceivable that you will stop by when no one is home.
Be that as it may, there is an information center with maps and brocures for various attractions located outside, where people can get information any time they want. It is not, however, a full-fledged help station as is located inside the building.
The visitors center is located in Town Center Park, and one can get there by following the signs to the Korean War Memorial as well.
This park contains a small but well maintained playground area, a Clackamas County visitors information center office, some very modern covered picnic shelters, a number of uncovered picnic tables, some large expanses of green grass, a water feature that (when it is turned on) children love to play in, and the Oregon Korean War memorial.
The primary interest travelers would have in coming here would be to visit the Clackamas County visitors office, but it is also a good place to get out and walk around, have a snack outdoors, and maybe let your children play for a while in the park's water feature (if it is turned on).
The Oregon Korean War Memorial has a separate entry in and of itself. Unfortunately, the average traveler will probably not be interested in it, but reading the descriptions of the war and the events that led up to it should provide at least some interest.
This monument is the only item in Wilsonville with signs from Interstate 5 guiding people to it. Unfortunately, once you get off the freeway, the signs become quite small.
The memorial contains a brief history of the war (on both standing slabs and on slabs on the ground) flag poles, a list of nations with killed and injured in the war, and a list of those from Oregon known to have been killed in the war.
Visitors are asked to visit the monument with care and respect.
The monument is located in one corner of Wilsonville's Twon Center Park and therefore has a number of nearby amenities associated with that park.