Scappoose’s forest park (Vista property)

Last year the City of Scappoose’s Isaac Butman asked me, “Have you checked out the Vista property?”

“What’s that?”

It turns out that City of Scappoose has 80 acres of forest property in town. I’ve been able to explore and, though facilities are limited, it’s a peaceful spot to enjoy some trees.

Parking is the issue. There’s space for 1-2 cars at most on the side of the road. Thankfully, the spot was empty both times we went, as I suspect it usually is.

vista park parking property bella vista road scappoose columbia county oregon

You can walk makeshift roads along the east and south sides of the property, and a a sketchy one that crosses diagonally. The forest has aged into attractive second-growth with older trees than usual (50+ years old) for our region.

In order to survey the entire property, I bushwacked across rough undergrowth and treefall on the east and north sides. Outside of the perimeter roads, the property is steep undulating hills split by draws.

One main stream cuts across the property on the north side with several minor vernal seeps flowing into it.

I wouldn’t recommend going off-trail as the fallen logs and slash were a mess at times and it would be easy to twist a knee or break an ankle if you came down the wrong way. Here’s a short video I made of my second trip through the park.

Our surveys produced the usual woodland salamanders:

The only structure within the park is a bench placed as an Eagle Scout project.

eagle scout bench vista park property city of scappoose columbia county bella road oregon

And that’s the Vista property. If you live close enough it’s a fine destination for a morning walk, and a nice place to explore the peace of the woods. The most recent parks plan from Scappoose included a proposal to develop the property into a nature park, and there was a hiking/biking trail plan by Bryan Hammond. As a new parks plan is currently being formed, interested residents can tell the city what their priorities are for the property.

Vista Park at a glance

What: walking in the woods

Where: From Hwy 30 in Scappoose, turn west onto NW Laurel Street, take the first right only NW 1st Street, then the first left onto NW EJ Smith Road. Follow for 0.4 miles before turning right to stay on EJ Smith Road for 0.2 miles, then turn left onto NW Bella Vista Drive for 0.4 miles. The parking spot is at the end of the road on the right side just before the gate.

Note that there is limited parking, but it is only a mile from downtown Scappoose and so it is easy to walk there.

Hiking: Perhaps half a mile or so of old road.

Camping: none

Notable Wildlife: Songbirds, woodland salamanders

Property status: City of Scappoose

Website: Scappoose’s most recent parks plan
Hiking/Biking trail proposal for Vista Park

Published by Jonathan

Educator, Herpetologist, Hiker.

2 thoughts on “Scappoose’s forest park (Vista property)

  1. Please don’t make it more than hiking/bicycling/ horse riding trails or it will end up being another dumping grounds for homeless.


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