Willamette Mission State Park, Oregon

Located at the end of the Oregon Trail, this state park memorializes the first Mission established here in 1834 by the Methodist Reverend Jason Lee. The Reverend’s mission was unsuccessful, but the Methodists were a prominent voice in Oregon’s political arena. The park features a monument dedicated to Jason Lee, an operating car ferry landing (still in use since its establishment in 1844 when it floated covered wagons across the Willamette River), and ample recreational opportunities. Of natural interest is an ancient black cottonwood tree (older than 250 years) growing in the park that is alleged to be the largest in the world at 155 feet high.

Willamette Mission State Park is located off Wheatland Road, 8 miles north of Salem.

Three Island Crossing State Park, Idaho

Three Island Crossing State Park preserves one of the most famous river crossings on the Oregon Trail. The trail crossed through 500 miles of the territory that became the state of Idaho. It entered what is now Idaho at the southeast corner of the state. At present-day Fort Hall (between Idaho Falls and Pocatello), it joined the Snake River, and followed the south bank of the river until it reached the Three Island Crossing near present-day Glenns Ferry. At the crossing, the emigrants faced a difficult choice. They could risk the dangerous crossing, and find a shorter route, more potable water, and better feed for the stock on the north side of the river. Or they could avoid the danger of the crossing, and endure a dry, rocky route along the south bank of the river. About half of the emigrants attempted the crossing, and many casualties are recounted in emigrant diaries. The Three Island ford was used by pioneer travelers until 1869, when a ferry was constructed about two miles upstream. Three Island Crossing looks much as it did 150 years ago. The new Oregon Trail History and Education Center at the park offers self-guided tours of the Snake River crossing, aas well as exhibits and artifacts from the Oregon Trail era.

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