Salem's Places of Peace
In the Bible, Salem means "place of peace." In Oregon, Salem has several nearby places where weary people can find peace. Many already know of the popular Silver Falls, but are you familiar with Minto-Brown Island Park, Ankeny Wildlife Refuge, and Baskett Slough Refuge? All three of these rewarding places are easy drives from Salem.
Minto-Brown Island Park
There is something for everyone at this 1200 acre park nestled between Salem and the Willamette River. You can walk, run, ride, or easily push a wheelchair on the miles of paved paths. You can also paddle in the quiet waters of the sloughs. Park near the playground at Riverfront City Park (along highway 99E) and travel across the stylish bridge to enter fields and forest. You can also drive through the south entrance on River Road and park at any of three parking lots. Dog lovers should note that Lot #2 is next to a dog park!
When my wife and I walked part of the 29 miles of trails there was a family of ospreys nesting on top of a pole in the middle of a big field. We could hear their calls long before we could see them.
Find more information on Minto-Brown Island Park at the city of Salem's website.
Ankeny and Baskett Slough Refuges
Even quieter than the park are the two nearby refuges. These are designed for bird watching and wildlife observation rather than recreation. Look for dusky Canada geese at Baskett Slough and Common Yellowthroats at Ankeny.
My favorite part of these refuges is the long boardwalk on the Rail Trail Loop on the south side of Ankeny. You enter a very shaded, almost tunnel-like area, which has places to observe pond life.
To get to Ankeny Refuge take exit 243 off of I-5 and turn west on Ankeny Hill Road. Proceed .25 mile to the stop sign. Turning right will lead to the information kiosk in 1.5 miles. Going straight will lead to the Rail Trail Loop.
Baskett Slough Refuge is on highway 22 about 5 miles west of Salem and a mile west of 99W.
by Ed Lyons, 8/3/2018