COVID-19 UPDATE: The park is open 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. Be prepared to turn around if crowded. Bring your own water, food and hand sanitizer. Do not travel far to visit. Facilities may close without notice.
Sarah Helmick is located six miles south of Monmouth off Highway 99W. Helmick lies along the floodplain of the Luckiamute River and is forested in Douglas fir, grand fir, maple, ash, Port Orford cedar and cottonwood. There are two reservation picnic areas for groups up to 150 people each. Electricity, water, picnic tables and restrooms are provided at each site. There is plenty of shade from the bigleaf maples that tower above you. It is a quiet spot to walk along the trails that border the Luckiamute River, with plenty of birds and native plant life to investigate.
You wouldn't guess just by looking, but this a deeply meaningful place. Sarah Helmick was the first state park established in Oregon way back in 1922, now thought of as the birth date of the Oregon State Park system. Next time you're there, take a moment to thank the memory of Sarah and her family for their gift.
Acquired between 1922 and 1985, the park -- the first state park in Oregon -- includes the first land given to the Oregon State Highway Commission for park purposes. Sarah Helmick and her son, James, gave 5.46 acres to the state in 1922. William and Mary Weist gave a small tract in 1948. In 1984 and 1985 Peter and Maryle Larson gave another portion. In addition to these gifts, there were two land purchases including 23.65 acres which were formerly part of the artillery range for Camp Adair used during World War II. The park was named for the donor, Sarah Helmick, who, with her husband, Henry, settled a 640-acre Donation Land Claim on the Luckiamute River in 1846. They had come to Oregon in 1845 over the Oregon Trail from Burlington, Iowa.