• 40 acres
• Bike path
• Boat landing
• Jogging path
• Natural area
• Picnic tables
Part of Alton Baker Park
Eastgate Woodlands is a triangle of green along the Willamette River at the eastern-most end of the Whilamut Natural Area of Alton Baker Park, an urban greenway connecting the communities of Eugene and Springfield. Willamalane Park and Recreation District manages Eastgate Woodlands as a natural area and recreational corridor. There are plentiful opportunities for walking, bicycling, jogging, boating, and nature appreciation.
The Whilamut Natural Area honors the Kalapuya people and their language.
This park has been adopted by American Veterans Post #16 and Auxilliary. Interpretive information has been provided by the East Alton Baker Park Citizen Planning Committee, Nearby Nature, David Wagner, Susan Applegate and the Kommema Cultural Protection Association.
The community of trees, shrubs, and flowers you see in Eastgate Woodlands is typical of riparian, or riverside, forests in the Willamette Valley. Take a stroll, or a ride, through the woodlands, and discover the natural wonders around you.
The Riverside Trail winds along the Willamette River’s edge through willow, red alder and cottonwood trees. The Woodlands Trail travels through a shady forest canopy of tall bigleaf maple along the canoe canal.
Along both trails thrives a rich understory of native shrubs, including snowberry, hazelnut, osoberry and our state flower, Oregon grape. Western sword fern is also plentiful.
Whilamut Natural Area
East Alton Baker Park is now called the Whilamut Natural Area of Alton Baker Park. Whilamut encompasses 237 acres of publicly owned open space, linking the neighboring cities of Springfield and Eugene. The park includes about three miles of frontage along the north bank of the Willamette River. Eastgate Woodlands is Willamalane’s portion of the Whilamut Natural Area.
The Whilamut Natural Area honors the Kalapuya people and their language. The name (pronounced “wheel-a-moot”), was chosen in collaboration with the Komemma Cultural Protection Association of the Kalapuya Tribe. Whilamut means “where the river ripples and runs fast.” The oral history of the Kalapuya people affirms: “We have always been here.” Tribal members hunted, fished, and gathered camas bulbs on the land that is now Whilamut Natural Area before being forced onto reservations outside their territory in the 1850s.
A traditional Kalapuya naming ceremony was held to commemorate the new name on Sept. 7, 2002.
Placed at sites throughout the Whilamut Natural Area are 11 Talking Stones, each inscribed with a Kalapuya word and its English equivalent. For thousands of years, before Euro-American occupation, every object in the local landscape had a Kalapuya name. Today, only 140 words remain.
• Learn more about the Talking Stones.
Whilamut Natural Area is a riverside retreat at the center of the Eugene-Springfield metropolitan area, where urban dwellers can experience a variety of native plant and wildlife habitats. Whilamut Natural Area provides opportunities for educational and passive recreational activities that require or are greatly enhanced by the park’s physical setting. In addition, the park acts as a connection between the Eugene and Springfield communities. The East Alton Baker Park Plan stipulates that the park will remain free of motorized vehicles.
In the preface to the park plan, members of the park’s Citizen Planning Committee emphasize “we are here to serve this land, not the other way around. We recognize that the land has its own integrity, its own inherent design and organization, and we see ourselves as being here to learn from the land and let it shape us. It is time to learn how to live in harmony with the land— to see ourselves, as Aldo Leopold once said, ‘as members rather than rulers of the land community.’ “