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Oregon Coast Total Eclipse: State Parks Taking Reservations

Published 11/16/2016 at 6:53 AM PDT - Updated 11/16/2016 at 6:57 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff


(Oregon Coast) - Starting Thursday, Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) will begin taking campground reservations for the spectacular total solar eclipse next summer, happening on on August 21, 2017. It's a massive stellar event that will be particularly dramatic along the central Oregon coast and through parts of the Willamette Valley, where most lodgings for that day are already completely booked. (Above: a solar eclipse in Oregon in 2010).

Normally, the OPRD campsite system takes reservations nine months ahead of time – which would have been November 7 for those who would take the maximum stay of 14 days (for a two-week stay starting on November 7 and ending on the 21st). This would normally allow those reserving to obtain a spot early by booking a stay that starts on November 7.

Given the expected high demand, OPRD is only allowing August 17 as the earliest booking date that would encompass the eclipse. This means as of November 17, you can book August 17 – 21 for the campgrounds on the central Oregon coast that are on or near the path of the eclipse.

The November 17 reservation opening date applies to these campgrounds inside the path of totality: Devil's Lake, Beverly Beach, South Beach, Silver Falls, Detroit Lake, The Cove Palisades, and Farewell Bend. But there are numerous others involved as well.

This means OPRD is essentially cutting off many earlier dates that could encompass August 21, and limiting these stays to start on August 17 at the earliest.

“This is ten days after OPRD's standard rolling nine month reservation window would normally allow a camper to make a long reservation,” said Chris Havel, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department spokesperson. “On November 17, 2016, the normal rolling nine month window will resume for all sites that accept reservations at parks along and near the eclipse path.”

Havel said they put these restrictions in place to prevent overbooking, and to accommodate those who are coming to see the eclipse as well as others coming out to camp on unrelated trips.

Havel also added this will be an exceptionally busy time around the state that will pose its own issues.

"We encourage eclipse campers to extend their stay with us for a day or more before and after the eclipse to reduce the congestion on the roads," he said.

The totality of the eclipse hits quite a swath around the state, running from about Waldport all the way up to Lincoln City, perhaps even Neskowin. These campground restrictions also include 30 miles on either side of the totality, an area spanning as far north as Nehalem Bay and as far south as Florence. This means other Oregon coast state parks affected include Beachside, Honeyman and Carl Washburne (near Yachats and Florence), Cape Lookout and Nehalem Bay. In the inland portion of the state, campgrounds with these restrictions include Stub Stewart, Champoeg, Milo McIver, Ainsworth, Memaloose, Viento, Deschutes River, Tumalo, LaPine, Prineville Reservoir, Lake Owyhee and Wallowa Lake.

OPRD is making plans to temporarily convert first-come, first-served state park campgrounds to reservation-only for the eclipse, so additional campsites will be made available at a later date. Havel said the agency is even looking at adding campsites to state parks where they don't normally exist now, as well as examining ways to eliminate congestion.

Campgrounds run by the US Forest Service will start taking reservations six months in advance, in February 2017. There are numerous other state and city campgrounds along the Oregon coast. You can see a full list of all of them on the northern half of the coast.

Oregon will be in that center line for the total eclipse, and an area right around Cape Foulweather to Moolack Beach will see it first. Some parts of the valley and the coast will be getting the longest total coverage in the western U.S. Depoe Bay and Lincoln Beach (not to be confused with Lincoln City) will have the most time in darkness in this region with one minute and 58 seconds of eclipse time.

Newport, Seal Rock and Lincoln City will also get to see the moon totally blocking the sun, as well as Salem, Dallas, Albany, Corvallis, Lebanon, Philomath, McMinnville, and Woodburn.

The actual center line of the eclipse is at Depoe Bay. Each of the towns in Oregon seeing totality will vary in duration, based on their distance from that line, according to Jim Todd, astronomy expert at Portland's OMSI.

“On the beach in Oregon, just north of Newport, the shadow will first touch land at about 10:15 a.m.,” Todd said. “People there will experience a full minute and fifty seconds of totality.“ Where to stay for this event - Where to eat - Map and Virtual Tour



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