OREGON CITY, Ore. (KOIN) — The rain didn’t stop some people from hitting the trails at the new Newell Canyon Creek Nature Park in Oregon City Monday.
The 236-acre Oregon Metro park officially opened to the public Monday. Christine Lewis, Metro councilor for District 2, said the park has been decades in the making.
“The voters of this region have said ‘yes’ to Metro and our park system through our levies and our bonds, and it’s because of those resources that were able to steward land like this,” she said.
Voters passed levies in 2006 and 2019 that supported the cost of building the park, which was about $2.45 million.
Metro has been doing conservation work at the Newell Canyon Creek site for 25 years, long before it was slated to become a park.
Now, the site features 2.5 miles of hiking trails and 2 miles of biking trails. Lewis, who is a beginner mountain biker herself, said the trails are very approachable and should be welcoming to people who are new to the sport.
“Even if you’re not a biker, there are dedicated trails that are just for people to walk on and it’s a nice time to be out here with family and hike,” she said.
On opening day, a handful of people braved the rain to walk and run the trails.
Lewis said anyone who visits should keep an eye out for wildlife. Guests might see beavers, red fox, cottontail rabbits and blacktail deer.
Lewis said this was Metro’s “COVID open week” for the park. There’s no big celebration or ribbon cutting, but the agency still hopes the park’s opening will attract interested visitors. Metro has a video on YouTube to help explain the park’s features and to help familiarize guests before they visit.
Metro is also inviting guests of Newell Canyon Creek Nature Park to take pictures at the park and enter them in a photo contest.
Metro says the park is open from sunrise to sunset. Dogs, smoking, hunting and camping are not allowed.
Lewis said Metro is working on Phase 2 for the park. She said she’s received a lot of feedback from community members who would like to see a nature-oriented play structure installed and Metro is exploring its options. She said money from the 2019 levy would support any Phase 2 changes.
Metro is also opening another park in Forest Grove Monday, Dec. 13, called the Chehalem Ridge Nature Park.