By in Bend Park of the Week
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Big Sky Park in northeast Bend is known for two things: athletic events and the off-leash dog park. But there’s so much more packed into this 97 acre park. A canal runs through the park, creating microclimates for lovely wildflowers, butterflies and other critters. Marmots screech and chirp from among the rock walls in the park. Trails, both official and unofficial, wind through the developed and natural spaces, providing visitors with many opportunities to explore and observe nature.

Address: 21690 NE Neff Road

Pros:  Space for organized sports as well as freeform exploration and play

Cons: Situated on the far eastern edge of town.

Key features: As soon as you enter Big Sky Park, you’ll notice several manicured sports fields. There’s space for soccer, softball, kickball and lacrosse. The Bend Parks and Rec District organizes children’s and adult’s teams that play throughout the year. Keep driving and you’ll come to a short trail leading to the off-leash dog park. This fenced-in wild space gives your pup the freedom to roam around and play. Humans, meanwhile, can roam around and play in all the spaces between fields and trails. There’s a fair amount of undeveloped area with wildflowers, juniper trees, sage brush, sand, water and other high desert character. Go find your own special spots! You’ll also enjoy beautiful views of the Cascade volcanoes, from Mt. Bachelor to North Sister and beyond. And if you ride BMX, there’s a BMX track that is run by a volunteer organization. For more information on High Desert BMX, visit their website.

In addition, there are some covered picnic areas, a playground and restrooms in the complex. This park has plenty to do and see! Come check it out.

What you’ll see and hear: Kids and adults playing league games, lots of dogs, marmots.

Best use of the park: Wandering along the canal, looking for flowers and wildlife.

Parking: Several parking lots.

Bike parking: Plenty of fences, signposts and other places to lock up your bike.

Fun fact: As of spring 2017, Big Sky Park is slated to receive some development and improvements. Some of the proposals include: lighting for the fields, a 1.5 mile cyclocross track, solar panels and more! Visit the projects page to learn more.

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Personal trainer, student of movement, and outdoor explorer in the Pacific Northwest

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