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Bridge closed sign and construction equipment at Smith Rock State Park
Bridge closed sign and construction equipment at Smith Rock State Park
Bridge at Smith Rock to remain closed into October due to construction delay (Photo) - 09/19/23

The pedestrian bridge at Smith Rock State Park, which was slated to reopen this week, will remain closed through at least September and likely into mid-October due to a delay in construction. 

A wooden support beam was damaged on the way down into the canyon during a complicated delivery that required a full day of slowly maneuvering six beams down to the bridge site. The beam will be evaluated and either repaired or replaced and then redelivered. 

“We apologize for the delay, and we continue to ask for patience during this highly complicated project,” said Park Manager Matt Davey. “We’re working hard to create safer access for future visitors with a bridge that will accommodate all of our guests and emergency responders.”

The new pedestrian bridge will measure 8 feet wide and better accommodate life-saving equipment during the frequent rescue operations at the park. The old bridge was built nearly 50 years ago and has significant wear and needs replacing. 

The footbridge spans the Crooked River and connects the front of the park with many but not all of its hiking trails and climbing destinations. There is no temporary bridge, and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department highly discourages wading across the river, which could damage sensitive habitat or cause visitor injury.

There are many areas of the park that don’t require bridge access including Rim Rock Trail, Homestead Trail, Canyon Trail and North Point loop. Visit the welcome center or go the website or SmithRock.com to learn about these other areas.

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department will update information on the footbridge closure dates and times on the Smith Rock webpage and through smithrock.com/ as information becomes available. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the park at 541-548-7501 or email the park manager at Matthew.DAVEY@oprd.oregon.gov.

  • Trails that will stay open include: Rim Rock Trail, Homestead Trail, Rope-de-Dope Trail, Canyon Trail and North Point loop
  • Climbing areas accessible during construction include: North Point area (accessible from the Homestead and North Point loop trails), Rope-de-Dope boulder (accessible from the Rope-de-Dope trail and Canyon Trail) and The Lower Gorge (Climber Access routes)

Registration open for the Oregon Main Street Conference in Independence, October 4-6 - 09/19/23

SALEM - "Idea to Implementation” is the theme of the 2023 Oregon Main Street Conference that will take place October 4-6 at multiple venues in downtown Independence.

The 2023 Oregon Main Street Conference looks at the “big picture” of why main street districts are so incredibly important to the health and well-being of local communities – physically, economically, and socially.

The conference theme, Idea to Implementation, reflects the innovation happening in Oregon Main Street organizations to think creatively about the issues and opportunities impacting their communities and then developing concrete programs and activities to bring about meaningful change.

The opening keynote will feature Mary Means who is best known for leading the team that created the National Main Street Center. More than 1,600 towns and historic neighborhood corridors in 45 states have successfully used the Main Street Approach™ to bring people back to their historic cores. Mary is the author of Main Street's Comeback and How It Can Come Back Again, published in 2020. 

Also featured is Steve Patty, Ph.D. He spent over thirteen years as a professor and administrator in higher education before stepping out of the university context to work with organizations in the nonprofit and public sectors.  For the past two decades, he has been developing the capacity of agencies that work with people to design strategy, develop people, and evaluate impact.  

Staff and volunteers of organizations focusing on downtown historic preservation and economic development, downtown business and property owners, government leaders, chamber of commerce professionals and volunteers, and others with an interest in the future of downtown will benefit from attending this conference.

 “We are excited to bring together people from across Oregon who share a common passion for helping their historic downtowns thrive,” said Sheri Stuart, state coordinator of the Oregon Main Street Network. “In working with our local partners, the Independence Downtown Association and the City of Independence, we’ve created an opportunity for people to experience a community that is a model of some of the best practices for enhancing their downtown while maintaining its sense of place while learning and networking with each other.”

Oregon Main Street is part of Oregon Heritage in Oregon Park and Recreation Department.

For more information about the Oregon Main Street Conference, visit www.oregonmainstreet.org or contact Sheri Stuart at sheri.stuart@oprd.oregon.gov or 503.986.0679.




Floras Lake trail
Floras Lake trail
Learn about Trail Investment Plan for Floras Lake State Natural Area Sept. 28 (Photo) - 09/18/23

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is working on a Trail Investment Plan for Floras Lake State Natural Area near Port Orford, and the public is invited to an informational meeting and to provide feedback Sept. 28.

OPRD has acquired additional land next to the natural area in recent years, and it anticipates increasing visitation consistent with coastal parks statewide – leading the agency to develop a basic plan for Floras Lake. The plan includes improving the trail experience and providing better connections to a nearby Curry County park as well as federal land. 

“The investment strategy for Floras Lake will aim to improve the visitor experience, especially navigating through the sensitive site, while maintaining the primitive quality that existing users highly value,” said Justin Helberg, south coast district manager.

“Resource protection is of particular concern at State Natural Areas, which are typically designated due to the unique plants and animals found in these locations,” he said. 

“Balancing the need for recreation facilities with natural resource protection is a primary goal of OPRD.”

The public can learn about the project in these early stages and provide feedback 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, September 28 at the Langlois Public Library, 48234 Highway 101, Langlois, OR. Information and an online survey are also available at https://bit.ly/floraslaketrailplan.

Attached Media Files: Floras Lake trail
Visitors setting up telescopes for a star party at Rooster Rock
Visitors setting up telescopes for a star party at Rooster Rock
Correction: Two state parks will host OMSI star parties Sept. 23 for the Autumnal Equinox (Photo) - 09/18/23

Correction: The date of the star parties is Sept. 23. The press release was updated to reflect that date.

L.L. Stub Stewart and Rooster Rock state parks will celebrate the beginning of autumn with free star-gazing parties starting at sunset Saturday, Sept. 23.

The parks are partnering with OMSI and Rose City Astronomers to host the events, which include a presentation at dusk and star gazing 9 to 11 p.m. Telescopes will be provided by volunteers and visitors are welcome to bring their own. Viewing highlights include stars, Jupiter, Saturn and more, weather permitting. 

The event is free, but parking in the day-use area does require a $5 parking permit fee per vehicle. The star party at L.L. Stub Stewart also requires a free Stargazing permit, which is available at the park.

Visitors are encouraged to bring their own chairs, blankets, warm clothing, snacks and water. Bug repellent is always a good idea. Please use red flashlights to avoid interfering with the dark sky viewing. You can also cover your flashlight or smartphone with red electrical tape.

Star maps will be provided along with recommended astronomy apps that visitors can load on their phones if interested. 

Visitors should arrive early to familiarize themselves with the area and only park in designated spaces for the event. Overnight camping is not permitted in day-use areas, though visitors can find campground reservations by visiting stateparks.oregon.gov. Guests are expected to exit Rooster Rock by 11 p.m. as the park will close at that time.

On the scheduled day for OMSI Star Parties, interested visitors should check back on the OMSI website for possible weather-related cancellations and any additional information. The long-range forecast looks like it offers great viewing opportunities for this event. 

Tubs filled with water at Tub Springs State Wayside
Tubs filled with water at Tub Springs State Wayside
Tub Springs water returns as a feature and not a source of drinking water (Photo) - 09/15/23

Water once again flows at the historic tubs at Tub Springs State Wayside, but now as a feature and not a source of drinking water. 

Water to the historic drinking water tub was shut off in January due to water quality concerns. The Oregon Health Authority ordered the tubs closed to the public due to high turbidity. 

After its analysis, Oregon Health Authority changed the water’s classification from groundwater to surface water, which means it’s not fit for drinking water without additional analysis and treatment. 

Changes in water quality at the springs were not a result of operations and maintenance, but are due to unknown causes. To resume potable water service would require treating the water, possibly including, but not limited to enhanced filtration and chlorination.

To maintain visitor safety, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department modified the water feature so it continues to flow but not as a drinking source.

“We wanted to preserve the experience of watching water run through these historic tubs while also preserving visitor safety,” said Nathan Seable, manager for OPRD’s Valley of the Rogue Management Unit. 

The wayside is located along Green Springs Highway 66 about 20 miles southeast of Ashland.

Jackson County currently maintains the wayside through an intergovernmental agreement with Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.  For general information about the park, contact Steve Lambert, Jackson County Roads and Parks director at (541) 774-6238.

Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission to meet September 19 and 20 - 09/14/23

Note: this is being re-issued to expand the reasons for holding an executive session. A discussion of the agency executive director's performance evaluation will occur along with the previously mentioned real estate and legal issues. Nothing else has changed.


HOOD RIVER, Ore — The Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission will convene Sept. 19 and 20 in Hood River, Oregon for their fourth meeting of the year. 

On Sept. 19, commissioners will convene a work session from 1 to 2 p.m. at Columbia Gorge Hotel, 4000 Westcliff Drive, Hood River to learn about the State Natural Areas program and the effects of wildfires on state parks.

On Sept. 20, commissioners will meet in executive session at 8:30 a.m. at Columbia Gorge Hotel, 4000 Westcliff Drive, Hood River to discuss [new text>> the executive director's performance evaluation, << end new text] real estate, and legal issues. Executive sessions are closed to the public. A business meeting will begin at 9:45 a.m. and will be open to the public.

Anyone may attend or listen to the business meeting; instructions on how to listen will be posted on the commission web page prior to the meeting.

The business meeting includes time for informal public comment related to any items not on the agenda. Registration is required to speak at the meeting if attending online, and is available online at https://bit.ly/registersept2023commission. The deadline to register to speak at the meeting virtually is 5 p.m., Sept. 18. No advance registration is required to speak in person at the meeting. Time per speaker is limited to three minutes. Please submit written public comments by 5 p.m., Sept. 18 to chris.havel@oprd.oregon.gov

The full agenda and supporting documents are posted on the commission web page. Notable requests: 

Anyone needing special accommodations to attend the meeting should contact Denise Warburton, commission assistant, at least three days in advance: denise.warburton@oprd.oregon.gov or 503-779-9729. 

The Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission promotes outdoor recreation and heritage by establishing policies, adopting rules and setting the budget for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. The seven members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon Senate. They serve four-year terms and meet several times a year at locations across the state. 


OPRD holds open house 9/27 on idea of county managing McVay Rock State Park - 09/12/23

News Release // Oregon Parks and Recreation Department // FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Release Date: September 12, 2023

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department holds open house 9/27 on idea of county managing McVay Rock State Park 

Brookings, Ore. – The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) manages McVay Rock State Recreation Site in south Curry County. The 19-acre park supports daytime visits with a beach access, off-leash pet area, disc golf course, and unpaved parking. There is no restroom or drinking water at the park. OPRD is discussing the possibility of leasing McVay to Curry County to continue its life as a public park, and is holding an open house at the Chetco Activity Center (550 Chetco Lane, Brookings OR) from 5-7 p.m. on September 27 to take feedback and answer questions about the idea. The meeting room is small, and there is no agenda, so people interested in discussing the idea can drop by any time from 5-7 p.m.

OPRD has been taking comments from people who live near the park for several months through a survey online at https://bit.ly/mcvayrock and will share results at the open house. The idea to explore a partnership with the county originated with a separate property swap in the north part of the county in 2020. OPRD received county land on the western shore of Floras Lake in trade for an undeveloped state parcel adjacent to US 101 north of Port Orford, and agreed to study other property agreements as a condition of the trade. The county requested a review of McVay Rock.

The park is managed by a state park crew that handles parks from Cape Sebastian near Gold Beach, to Crissey Field on the California border, and over to Loeb on the Chetco River. If OPRD leased McVay to the county, it would maintain the existing beach access, disc golf course, and pet area, and consider future improvements to these services and could eventually consider adding a covered area for group events, and tent space for hikers and bicyclists. Informal survey results show people have mixed feelings about improvements, and concerns about whether camping would be manageable without disrupting the neighborhood around the park.

No decision has been made about whether to pursue leasing the park to the county. If it decides to go that route, OPRD staff will draft a proposal for county and community review later this fall.


# # # 

New restrooms installed at Saddle Mountain
New restrooms installed at Saddle Mountain
Saddle Mountain State Natural Area reopens today (Photo) - 09/06/23

SALEM, Ore— Saddle Mountain State Natural Area reopened to the public Wednesday, Sept. 6 after an extended closure due to safety repairs.

The park closed in 2021 due to trail and footbridge damage and a failed restroom.

Crews repaired the 2.7-mile trail to the summit and rerouted at least one section to make the trek safer for visitors and easier for rescue teams. Additional work included clearing hazard trees, enhancing the picnic areas and installing two vault toilets to replace the failed flush restroom.

In order to complete the work, teams had to carry every piece of lumber, strand of cable, length of pipe, chunk of rebar and tool by hand up the mountain, which measures 3,290 feet tall. Volunteers, contractors and staff worked more than 1,000 hours on the repairs, which are still ongoing. 

“I am very proud of the work we’ve accomplished and grateful for the collective efforts of everyone involved,” said Park Manager Ben Cox. 

Visitors can now hike the coastal mountain peak east of Cannon Beach anytime from dawn to dusk. The natural area is known for rare wildflowers, a stunning viewpoint that stretches from the Cascade Mountains to the coastline and a recovery site for the threatened Oregon silverspot butterfly. 

There is no overnight camping or drinking water available at the park so visitors are encouraged to plan ahead to enjoy this remote and challenging hike. The primitive 10-site campground was removed due to lack of water, ongoing theft and vandalism and the challenge of servicing a remote park with existing resources.

“Guests should bring their own water and the proper equipment and footwear to hike a difficult trail that gains over 1,600 feet in elevation. Cell service varies depending on your carrier, but it’s always a good idea to tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return,” said Park Manager Ben Cox. 

“With the reopening of the trail," he said, “let’s work together to be good stewards of this special place. Please stay on the trail to protect unique species including the threatened Oregon silverspot butterfly.”

Statewide trails advisory committee seeks to fill vacancies - 09/06/23

SALEM, Ore. - Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is seeking volunteers for two positions on the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) Grants Advisory Committee. 

The positions include an Accessibility representative and an Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) representative.

The 10-member committee evaluates grant proposals for statewide trail projects. They meet once or twice a year, virtually or at locations throughout the state. Time commitment varies and includes reviewing and evaluating 25-40 grant applications each annual funding cycle. Committee members serve three-year terms and are eligible to serve a second term.

Ideal candidates can live anywhere in Oregon with experience in at least one of the following areas: land management, recreation planning, trail planning or design, recreation related volunteerism; or a trail enthusiast who is uniquely qualified to evaluate project proposals through other experience and involvement. Strong candidates may also demonstrate an awareness of statewide recreational trail needs, other broad recreational issues, and the importance of providing equitable, inclusive, and accessible recreational opportunities.

Those interested in serving must submit an RTP advisory committee interest form by Thursday, Nov. 30. The form is available online: https://form.jotform.com/232364818278162

The competitive grant program is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration and administered by OPRD. Grants are awarded to non-profits and governments for motorized and non-motorized trail projects, including building new trails, improving existing trails and developing or improving trail facilities.

For more information about the advisory committee or application process, contact Jodi Bellefeuille, program coordinator, at Jodi.bellefeuille@oprd.oregon.gov or 503-856-6316.

Recreational Trails Program accepting grant applications for motorized and non-motorized trail projects - 09/01/23

SALEM, Ore— The Recreational Trails Program is accepting grant applications through Nov. 15 for the 2023 grant cycle. The federally-funded reimbursement grant program provides matching grants to construct, expand, or improve public trails for motorized and non-motorized use. 

Interested applicants must submit a letter of intent via https://oprdgrants.org by Sept. 30, and applications are due Nov. 15.

An optional webinar is scheduled on Thursday, Sept. 7, from 10 a.m. -12 p.m. to provide information on the program and how to navigate the application process. Registration is required: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_SBpKo9DwS0WhunoFM6OBIw#/registration. A recording of webinar will be posted on the Recreational Trails Program web page shortly afterwards. 

Approximately $1.6 million in grant funds are available for trail construction, heavy restoration, trailhead facilities, land or easement acquisitions, safety and education, trail assessments for accessibility or maintenance, and water trails.

The grant program is open to local governments, park districts, state and federal agencies, tribal governments, other public land managers, and nonprofits.

The Recreational Trails Program is funded through the Federal Highway Administration and administered by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD). Since 1993, the program has funded over 550 projects across Oregon.

Information about the program, including the grant manual, application instructions and program schedule, is on the Recreational Trails Program web page

Questions can be directed to Jodi Bellefeuille, Recreational Trails Program coordinator, at jodi.bellefeuille@oprd.oregon.gov or 503-856-6316.