Champoeg Nature Play Area opens this spring
March weather hasn’t stopped work on a new nature play area at the Champoeg State Heritage Area campground between the A and B loops. Although the site is wet and muddy, Richard Cassidy of the Friends of Historic Champoeg said the area’s centerpiece is in place.
Workers have created a mound 6 feet high and 70 feet in diameter in the Upper Prairie Play area that will soon be a natural jungle gym. A boulder climbing area complete with a fox den sits on one side. Plans also include a curved double slide, 30-foot-long log scramble and squirrel climbing net, as well as an osprey nest lookout for the rest of the mound, according to Cassidy.
A weaving fence and arch will mark the entrance to the play area. The lower part of the fence will have permanent willow branches woven among posts and kids can take branches from a pile to continue building. The Creekside Play area includes a series of three logs carved into sluiceways and placed as a series of waterfalls. The highest sluice will have a hand-operated water pump for kids to push and then play in the moving water. This area will also have a canoe, beaver lodge made from willows and basalt mashers. The mashers are bowl-shaped with large, wooden pestles. One idea is to place hazelnut shells into the bowls for kids to smash.
Learning Landscapes designed the Nature Play Area.
The play area will open April or May depending on how weather affects construction. Watch here for grand opening information.