Oregon State Parks to spend $50 million on new campsites, park improvements

Posted on in category Positive News tagged Positive News , State parks , The Oregonian

Start your Monday off with a little positive news; Oregon State Parks received a funding boost to improve parks and campsites, one of which is in our Backyard! Enjoy this article.

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New campsites at Silver Falls, riverside cabins at Champoeg and a visitor center at Kam Wah Chung are all on tap, as the Oregon’s state parks are set for a $50 million upgrade over the next two years.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department on Thursday released a list of upcoming projects that are slated to begin in May 2022 and March 2023, utilizing money from a bond that was approved by the state Legislature earlier this year.

The list includes additional camping at some of Oregon’s busiest state parks, as well as new visitor centers, restrooms, parking lots and general maintenance upgrades that have been a long time coming.

The project at Silver Falls State Park is expected to be one of the most expensive, estimated to cost $8 million to $10 million. Park officials have proposed a new North Falls Complex on the north side of the park that would include a new campground, visitor center, trailhead and parking lot.

A proposed project at Cape Lookout State Park is the other big-ticket item, also projected to cost $8 million to $10 million, which would relocate the A and B camping loops to higher ground, where they would be safe from the eroding coastline. Crews would also need to build new roads and facilities for the relocated campsites, and remove existing buildings that are currently being lost to erosion.

Additional camping is also being proposed at Champoeg State Heritage Area, which will get a new camping loop and riverside cabins; Milo McIver State park, where a new loop will be added to the campground; and Nehalem Bay State Park, which will see a new cabin loop and additional tent sites.

In addition to Silver Falls, two parks will get new visitors centers, with work slated to begin in 2022: Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site, home of a historic Chinese medical clinic and community center in eastern Oregon, and Smith Rock State Park, a popular rock climbing and hiking destination north of Bend.

“The Legislature’s incredibly generous act allows us to make significant and much needed upgrades to facilities and infrastructure, as well as modernize and expand some campgrounds,” Lisa Sumption, director of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, said in a news release. “This support for the park system’s future is especially meaningful as we commemorate our centennial in 2022 and our commitment to provide world-class park experiences.”

–Jamie Hale; jhale@oregonian.com; 503-294-4077; @HaleJamesB

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