#44 – Sawyer Park

#44 – Sawyer Park

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It was a warm day, and a warm day calls for cooling off in the river. With so many of the parks on the river closed due to the river construction, it is hard to find a nice spot. When we arrived at Sawyer Park at 4pm, the park was already pretty busy. Anyone would keep in mind that the parking for this park can get dicey, when busy.

When you first arrived, you find some picnic tables, a porta-potty, and plenty of grass. There is also a rock wall with plenty of rocks for climbing on, on the right.

20150719_174628We crossed the bridge and turned right. Left of the bridge is for fishing and “nature observing” only. I have walked to the left, and it is just as beautiful as the rest of the park.

The right has multiple paths that lead you to spots  that are perfect for picnicking and frolicking in the river. All the close spots were taken when we arrived. We had to walk for quite a few minutes before we finally found something. We were a little farther from the car that we would have liked, it was a great little, out of the way, spot. There were rocks that created a tiny, protected, pool.

One our way back, we stopped by one of the more popular “pools” in the park. Someone has created the perfect “kiddy” pool next to some swift rapids. It was taken by a family when we had arrived. I was happy to find it empty when we were walking back. When we got to check it out, near almost 6pm, the shade was covering the whole area. It was the perfect depth for young kids to enjoy the water in a 20150719_173134safer pool.

In general, speaking as a lifelong Bendite, you must be careful when playing in the Deschutes. If you are going to let your kids swim into the center of the river, you will need to bring life jackets. And, on behalf of all, pleasure pack out what you bring with you.

I have walked the trails around Sawyer Park in the past. It’s beautiful to walk next to the river. I thoroughly enjoy walking this section of the Deschutes River trail. For the most part, it is an easy trail. there are some uphills, but nothing that should stop anyone looking for a beautiful nature walk.

Sawyer Park is lacking in many of the amenities you come to expect from the local parks. There is only one porta-potty. There is a water fountain nearby, before you cross the bridge. There is no playground, dog facilities, or large parking area. It is truly a “one trick pony.” Though, the trick of nature is an amazing trick.


Ratings: 
(A scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is the least desirable and 5 is the most desirable)

Size: 5
Condition: 4  
Amenities: 3
Safety: 3
Fun: 4

Overall Score: 3.8

Shevlin Park is what I could call a “specialty park.” It is a river wonderland, with plenty of shoreline nooks to enjoy the river in. You also find access to the northern section of the Deschutes River Trail. You have to be careful when playing the river, even when using some of the man-made pools on the edge. Though, the river gives hours of the play, this park could be boring for anyone who doesn’t enjoy nature.

#43 Shevlin Park – Shevlin Park Road

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It is hard to experience Shevlin Park in one day. When my little family of three went on a sunny afternoon in early March, we barely skimmed the surface. I’m going to try my best to include pictures and experiences from other visits to this gem in the crown of Bend Parks and Rec.

The parking for Shevlin park is extensive, but still does not do the traffic justice on an really busy day in the summer. Very quickly you come across the main restrooms and the picnic pavilion (which can be reserved through BPRD.) From there you have a few different path options. I would suggest picking up, or downloading, a Shevlin Park Trails Map before venturing about. I don’t think you can really get lost, the trails are well groomed, but it never hurts to know where your going.

Tumalo Creek rambled through this park, making you feel way farther from civilization than you are. Most of the trails stay close to this river and you ramble through this 44 acre oasis. This creek is the only real safety concern I have about this park. If your child cannot resist themselves around water, you may need to be extra vigilant, because water is everywhere. Some part of this creek are very swift as well, but I would certainly be careful if you are going to swim.

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One of my favorite sites in Shevlin Park is the covered bridge. Inside there are plenty of carving left behinds my couples in love.

You can find different little sites along the trail with picnic tables. The one we found came with a very calm spot in the water. On a busy day, it may be hard to find a secluded spot. On a “off season” kind of day it can feel like wilderness.

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On the other side of the road you can find Aspen Hall, a popular wedding. (I might be biased, it was our wedding venue.) Next to Aspen Hall you find the small pond which is open for under age fishing enthusiasts so they can learn their trade.

If you follow the trails past Aspen Hall you can come across a gravel river bank that seems like it was build for picnicking and swimming on a summer day. I’m not sure if it gets busy here or not, but I would be prepared to pack in everything you would need for a great afternoon.

In general, it is hard to do Shevlin Park justice. I imagine for some children, this park is incredibly boring. If your family enjoys walking/hiking and fishing than this gem will blow you away. If it’s not your families thing, then it will seem somewhat boring.


 

 

Ratings: 
(A scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is the least desirable and 5 is the most desirable)

Size: 5+
Condition: 5
Amenities: 4
Safety: 4.5
Fun: 3

Overall Score: 4.5

Shevlin Park is what I could call a “specialty park.” For walking/hiking and natural exploring, it does not get any better than Shevlin Park in the BPRD portfolio. The trails are well groomed, the views are amazing, and the park has everything you need. If your family needs more stimulus, and cannot entertain itself on nature alone, this park is an absolute dud. Shevlin Park is something you will either absolutely love or absolutely hate. It’s hard to rate that on a scale. Watch your children around the creek.


 

#42 Sunset View Park – Stannium Rd

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Sunset View Park was not the kind of park I was expecting. I didn’t check out the park description on the Bend Parks and Rec website before going on the adventure. I did know that I seemed to drive past part of it on my way to Shevlin Park, and that I had seen it once or twice.

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The part of the park which is accessed at the end of Stannium Road is all natural landscape. It is a fitness park, with multiple stations with equipment for difference exercises.

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There is a pile of sticks and logs around the base of one tree. My husband and I are both somewhat curious how this happened and if it has a purpose.

There seems to be a trail that leads to the other part of the park, the part that includes a portion of the West Bend Trail. We chose to drive there. I was hoping to find the park sign, as most BPRD parks have a special sign in each of them. We did find multiple trail heads, but not real parking to speak of. Long story short, we were really unable to explore that part of the park at all.

I can only speak for the Fitness Park porting of Sunset View Park. It had two picnic tables and a doggie station, which makes it nice for a fitness themed lunch. I’m a little shocked that there is not a water fountain here or seasonal bathroom.

Safety wise, I can’t see anything overly concerning about this park. The ladder station would make me a bit nervous, but it is no higher than most play structures get. I wouldn’t suggest sending children to this park unmonitored, but I can’t see a reason why you couldn’t enjoy reading a book while your children ran around. Other than how quickly they would get bored, anyway.


 

Ratings: 
(A scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is the least desirable and 5 is the most desirable)

Size: 3
Condition: 5
Amenities: 2
Safety: 4.5
Fun: 3

Overall Score: 3.5

This score is really only reflective of the Fitness Park side of Sunset View Park. We were unable to find safe and adequate parking to explore the other side. As a fitness park, I could see the stations giving a relatively well rounded work out. It would also probably bore some kids quickly, unless they really love playing with natural landscape. There are a couple picnic tables and a doggie station, but without a restroom or other facilities it would be hard to want to make a long outing out of this park.


 

#41 Hillside II Park – Saginaw Ave.

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Hillside (II) Park is on the corner of 12th Street and Saginaw Ave., across the road from Hillside (I) Park. The parking is street parking, and probably bothers the neighbors when the park is busy.

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The Park is much like I expected after reading the description on the Bend Parks and Rec website. I was sad to see that there were no picnic tables, which was the only amenity the website listed. There are no bathrooms, doggie stations, play structures or garbage cans. If you plan on doing anything in this park, be prepared to bring all your own equipment, and pack everything out when you leave. If you get in a bind, you can take the walk to Hillside I park for facilities.

Because the park is so close to the road, my husband and I debated the safety rating. If you have a wandering child I could keep a close eye on them. The traffic is not heavy, but it still worries the helicopter parent in me.

What this park does have going for it is the immaculately manicured grounds. There are plenty of trees for shade, and also plenty of sunny areas. When we arrived there was only one couple enjoying themselves in the sun. I get the feeling this may not be a very popular park, which makes it a great spot for a romantic picnic.


 

Ratings: 
(A scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is the least desirable and 5 is the most desirable)

Size: 3
Condition: 5
Amenities: 1
Safety: 4
Fun: 1

Overall Score: 2.8

Hillside II park offers nothing unique, though it is another beautiful romantic vista. Without any play structure, it may be hard to entertain children without bringing in your own equipment. There is no equipment in this park at all.

The 2015 Season!

The weather in Bend has been amazing, and my family decided it was time to get back on the trail. I know it was our hope to do all the parks in Bend in one summer. Truth be told, we only got through about half of them.

Last year we completed all the parks with play structures, 40 total. (We did Larkspur Park, but I forgot to take pictures or notes. I blame it on “end of season” fatigue. We will do it again soon.) This year, we are hitting the parks without play structures.

I hope you enjoy our families journey through the parks of Bend, Oregon! See you out there!

#40 Pine Ridge Park – Linfield Court

#40 Pine Ridge Park – Linfield Court

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Pine Ridge Park off of Brookswood Blvd, not too far from the Power’s exit off of the Parkway. The parking at this park is street parking, and limited. It is located next to Pine Ridge Elementary School. The park does sit close to the road, but there is a fence between the structures and moving vehicles, which is very reassuring for parents of kids who tend to run.

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The play ground itself seems to be gears to mostly the under 7 crowd, with very few options for bigger kids. There is one structure, a spinning contraption, that entertained my husband and I for quite awhile. This park only had two infant swings, and no regular swings. I suppose older kids could just run to the school’s playground for more challenging activities, if necessary.

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Pine Ridge Park does boast a picnic structure, with two tables underneath and one picnic table off to the side, seating approximately 20-30 (depending, right?). The structure is somewhat far from the play structure, making it a tough setting for a birthday party. The structure is in a more shaded area, and somewhat secluded, making it good for some other big gatherings.

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I will admit we did not venture far from the play area. We were having so much fun as a family that I forgot to check out the rest of the property. The Bend Parks and Rec website for this park says that there is a play “garden” for this park. I’m not sure what a play garden is, but I did not see one. The website also says there are multi-use trails and neighborhood connections. I’m not sure what that means, but we did see families walk to the park from all directions. For a Wednesday Evening, this park was actually somewhat busy. I think this park is very popular with it’s residents and probably is pretty full during peak park times.

I did not see any picnic tables around the property, nor was there much seating near the playground structure. If you plan to be at this play ground for long periods of time, and not at the picnic structure itself, I would plan on bringing a chair with you if needed.


Ratings: 
(A scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is the least desirable and 5 is the most desirable)

Size: 5
Condition: 5
Amenities: 4
Safety: 5
Fun: 4

Overall Score: 4

Pine Ridge Park is a newer park. The play ground itself seems to be geared to younger children, leaving older kids with little to do other than to go to the neighboring Pine Ridge Elementary school playground. There is little to no seating around the play area, which means bring a chair if you are not comfortable for standing for long periods. This park does have a decent size picnic structure. There are multi-use trails for walking your dog. There is not particularly interesting about this park, that would make me want to make a special trip, other than the spinning ride-able.


 

 

#39 Sawyer Uplands Park – Yosemite Drive

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Sawyer Uplands Park is across the river from Sawyer Park, and there is a trail that connects both of these parks and the Deschutes River Trail. I did not take the time to walk the length of the trail, but I have heard that it is a little steep. The parking for Sawyer Uplands Park is street parking, but the neighborhood roads seem quiet and not well traveled other than by the local neighbors.

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The playground for Sawyer Uplands Park is unique and designed for multiple ages. Although there is not a typical play structure here, there is plenty to keep kids of all ages busy. We were happy to see a set of swings, but surprised ot not see a set of infant swings. The smaller structure is perfect for younger kids. There are a few picnic tables and benches (including one chess/checkers table) around the play area, with enough seating to keep parents off their feet. The play ground it set far enough away from most safety issues, like roads, to let me relax while my son played. The back of the play area is next to a slope, which is rocky but not too steep to cause concern.

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The rest of the park proper is grassy area. It is perfect for play catch with your dogs, or flag football. There were no picnic tables in the grassy areas. If you are looking for a private picnic, I would bring a blanket.

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The Sawyer Uplands Trails leads from them the paved path around the park towards the cliffs. I would watch your children closely if they are headed in this direction, as the cliffs do not have fences on the edge. The trail itself is through natural vegetation. I did notice at least two lizards running around the trail itself, making me think it may be a great place to take kids for a nature hunt.

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Off to the side of the trail was (at least) one picnic bench set next to the edge of the cliff. From this bench I could see Sawyer Park, the Deschutes River, some of the beautiful houses on the other side and a great skyline view of Bend. Because of the way the bench is facing, I bet it makes a great sunrise spot during some parts of the year. In general, it felt very romantic.

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In general, my family had a very fun time at Sawyer Uplands Park. The play structures really entertained our son. Even though he is a wanderer, we did haven’t any problems with that until after about and hour when we started to get bored. We were there on a Wednesday afternoon, but there was no one else using the park. There was one person who walked their dog to the park to play catch, but he and his pup were very friendly.

The park is missing some amenities that other parks seem to have. I was surprised, and disappointed, to see this park did not have any sort of large picnic structure. Sawyer Uplands Park might have made the list of best birthday parks in town otherwise. I also feel like the parks needs a few more picnic tables, for those looking for a little more romance and privacy. Because the park does not have any fencing around the cliff, I am nervous about letting my child get too far away without supervision. I am not sure if this is a safety issue, or not. There is a fine line sometimes between proper parenting and a park’s responsibility.

The Bend Parks and Rec website for this park is very limited in its description.


Ratings: 
(A scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is the least desirable and 5 is the most desirable)

Size: 5
Condition: 5
Amenities: 4
Safety: 5
Fun: 5

Overall Score: 4.5

Sawyer Upland Park is a neighborhood park in the Awbrey Butte Area. The playground structure is very unique, and provides different venues for fun for all ages. This park does not have infant swings. There is also no picnic structure, which makes it unusable for large gatherings. The park has grassy areas, that may be a touch too small for flag football. Sawyer Upland Trail starts at this park and goes always the way to the Deschutes River Trail and to Sawyer Park.