The pride and joy of any town is the public park system. Salem boasts hidden gems located inside neighborhoods, larger community parks with reservable areas for weddings, reunions, company picnics, and athletic tournaments, plus special event parks for concerts, festivals, movies, and run/walk events. Salem is fortunate to have historical sites and park features not found anywhere this side of the Mississippi. Salem's thriving volunteer base works in tandem, contributing assistance to support these wonderful City resources. To ensure our parks are enjoyable for everyone, there are a few rules to keep in mind. Many recreational activities such as softball leagues, kickball leagues, and sports tournaments take place in Salem’s park system.
Public parks are here for your enjoyment. Visit, play, relax, appreciate nature, improve your health, and interact with your community.
Salem Parks by the Numbers
Number of Parks: 90
Park Acreage: 2,335 acres
Activity Permits: 1,356 special activity permits were issued in 2019.
Volunteer Hours: On average, Salem park volunteers contribute approximately 80,000 hours annually. That is almost 39 full time workers.
First City Park: Englewood Park is Salem's first city park. The seven acre site was purchased in 1926.
Park Classification System
Salem parks deliver recreation benefits by providing open fields for programmed or drop-in play, trails for jogging, walking, and exploring nature, playgrounds for social interactions between kids and adults, and natural areas for education, relaxation, and reflection. Parks are classified into certain types to organize how activities are provided to residents in a way that creates the most benefit and least impact to neighborhoods and the environment.
48 Neighborhood parks: Neighborhood parks are local parks serving surrounding residents within walking and biking distance and providing access to basic recreation amenities. Salem has 34 developed neighborhood parks and 14 undeveloped neighborhood park properties.
11 Community parks: Community parks, such as River Road Park or Woodmansee Park, are large-scale parks that serve the entire community and allow for a variety of recreational activities such as organized sports, group picnics, and playgrounds. Salem has four developed community park, one partly developed (Geer Park), and six undeveloped community park properties.
7 Urban parks: Urban parks, such as Riverfront Park, help to meet the recreational needs of the entire city and may attract visitors from throughout the region for festivals and special events. Urban parks may also have restored or protected natural areas that provide wildlife habitat.
or serve as stormwater facilities. Salem has six developed urban parks and one undeveloped urban park property.
6 Linear parks / Connector trails: Linear parks and connector trails include natural or built corridors that connect parks and neighborhoods and provide linkages through the city. The Union Street Railroad Pedestrian Bridge is an example of a Connector Trail that links Riverfront and Wallace Marine Parks.
4 Special use facilities: Special use facilities generally are sites that serve unique purposes, and may provide recreational, cultural, or educational uses. Center 50 + and Gilbert House Children's Museum are special use facilities.
5 Historical areas: Historical areas serve multiple purposes. These areas contain features of cultural and historical significance requiring sensitivity to use and management of the site. Bush House and Deepwood Museum and Gardens are examples.
10 Natural areas: Natural areas are primarily undeveloped lands left in a natural state for conservation, and they may provide opportunities for passive recreation. Minto-Brown Island Park is our largest natural area with close to 19 miles of trails.
The Salem Parks and Recreation Advisory Board is an advisory board to the Salem City Council. The board recommends to and advises City Council on park land and recreational facilities, recommends heritage tree designations, and issues decisions on city tree removal permit appeals.