This park near Albany is a quiet oasis for boating, paddling and hiking. It's made up of a north and south parcel, with parking lots at each.
The Luckiamute River meanders through the 615-acre north tract, flowing into the Willamette River from the west and just a stone's throw from the Santiam River confluence from the east. Travelers paddling the Willamette Water Trail can camp at the boater-access-only site. Hikers can park at the North Trailhead and take the 3-mile North Unit Loop trail along a meadow and through a riparian hardwood forest of Oregon ash and bigleaf maple.
The 300-acre south parcel is a great place for wildlife viewing and fishing (although the pond is not stocked). Park at the South Trailhead and take a half-mile walk to the West Pond. See if you can catch a glimpse of Western pond turtles at the north end. The pond is an old gravel pit, but good habitat for turtles. An Oregon native, the turtle is dark green or brown with cream and brown flecks on its neck and head. The population of western pond turtles is declining because their native habitat is disappearing. The turtles are included on Oregon's Sensitive Species List.
Habitat is a key reason why Luckiamute exists. Low-impact activity like paddling and hiking complement the effort to restore natural flood plains. You might not see them, but the park has remnants of abandoned river channels and natural levees and wetlands that provide crucial habitat for migrating birds, waterfowl, shorebirds, amphibians, and turtles.
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and the Luckiamute Watershed Council (LWC) have partnered since 2011 to restore this rare floodplain ecosystem. Project partners have removed noxious weeds on 280 acres and planted over 580,000 native plants to re-establish riparian and wetland habitat. In 2020, work began to return a 60-acre parcel of former farmland along the North Unit Loop trail to floodplain forest.
Please follow all restoration, habitat, and private property signs.
Luckiamute started out as 528.52 acres of Willamette River Greenway parcels purchased in the 1970's and 1980's. In 2001, The River Network negotiated the sale of an additional 235.32 acres purchased for $505,000—$380,000 came from Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board grant; $50,000 from a North American Waterfowl Conservation Act grant, and $75,000 from OPRD. Western Rivers Conservancy negotiated for 75.70 acres in 2002 for $440,000—$44,000 came from Western Rivers Conservancy; $351,000 from a North American Waterfowl Conservation Act grant, and $44,000 from OPRD.
The ponds are remnants of gravel quarries used in the construction of Camp Adair during World War II and have become some of the best Western Pond Turtle habitat in the Willamette Valley.