Joryville Park May 5, 2022

I recently heard about another park I had not been to in Salem, Joryville Park. I went assuming it would be mostly grassland but was surprised that this Marion County park was full of native plants. This may be the last native landscape remaining of the Salem hills. The park is full of old growth firs and many native species. The park extended up to the near top of a hill, and at the bottom is a wetland, which is full this time of year. The best surprise was the very large hazel bushes I found. I have seen large ones before, but these are old and very large, what I assumed were the European variety. But I tested them and they appear to be natives.

Very large Hazel
Testing the Hazel, it did not break when wrapped and so its probably a native. European hazel is much more brittle than the native and a test like this can determine which variety it is. Switches of the Hazel are used in basketry.

Elder berry

The red jory soils are very prominent and in this wet season the mud is both sticky (to the touch) and slippery. Many of the hiking trails are quite steep and I was slipping and sliding all over the place. Lucky I did not fall, but regular use would make these trails much more hazardous than they are. When I arrived at the park I was the only vehicle, a few minutes later some five vehicles appeared. When following one trail I saw fresh tracks of a person and a large dog had preceded me up the trail.

Purple Trillium


Pacific Trillium

This is definitely a fair weather park due to the soil issues. I did reach the top of the trail system in about 20 minutes, and came out on a field of what may be broccoli plants in rows. Not knowing the trails here and not wanting to return on the steep eastern slope I retraced my steps and returned muddy and tired. One could walk the full park in 45 minutes to an hour. Descriptions online suggesting it was an easy trail, I would differ because the trail is in some places almost straight up, and conditions in the rain are not easy at all.

the bottom area of the park is a wetland right now

Lots of very large vine maple with leaves just coming in


very large fallen tree in the middle of a trail, some maintenance needed
interesting stepping stones across a pond, they seemed too slippery for use right now

Incidentally, Jory was a settler family in the Salem Hills. Jory soils are the reddish soils found there and found along the ridges at west Salem and north, they are very old soils. Jory soil was once considered to be the state soil of Oregon. Its quite unique.

I plan to return when there is a dry spell and look more deeply into the native plants.

One thought on “Joryville Park May 5, 2022

  1. This is a wonderful series of Willamette Valley Flora. I think a book somewhat along the lines of Pojar and MacKinnon’s Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast of indigenous Willamette Valley plants and trees, including their specific purposes and uses in Native Culture would be a stupendous, albeit wholly worthwhile undertaking. It might not have as large an audience as the book named above, but I think it’s a much needed work that would be accepted by Valley Dwellers which comprises as you probably already know 2/3 of Oregon’s population. I’d certainly buy a copy — in fact it is the book I’ve been looking for for a long time and it does not yet exist.

    I hope this inspires you to at least consider just such an undertaking.

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