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Oregon Coast / Inland Campgrounds Mostly Open, Some Fee Increases

Published 03/08/21 at 7:00 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oregon Coast / Inland Campgrounds Mostly Open, Some Fee Increases

(Oregon Coast) – Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is getting back to normal at an ever-quickening rate, and is now looking hopefully towards a more “normal” season at campgrounds on the Oregon coast and elsewhere. Staff rehiring is taking place after many positions were eliminated, and even with a massive revenue shortfall the agency has opened up most state parks and campgrounds, with a few more to go. (Above: Cape Lookout State Park near Oceanside)

However, some small camping fee increases are taking place at several state parks, though not all.

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Tthis time last year saw a major travel shut down, along with state parks, due to COVID emergency measures. Those shutdowns, as well as a lack of funding from Oregon lottery when bars were closed, created some serious financial issues at OPRD. Other natural disasters did not help the situation, such as the wildfires in September and ice storms last month.

Campgrounds were especially affected, especially on the Oregon coast, and the agency is moving as quickly as possible to normalize operations there and in other state parks.

About half of the fee increases are on the Oregon coast. However, the temporary, COVID-related surcharge that added up to an additional 30% fee to overnight stays for out-of-state campers ended March 1.

Overnight camping rates will remain the same as 2020 rates except for a $3 increase for electric hookup and full hookup sites in selected parks May 28-Sept. 6. The electric hookup rate range will be $24-$35 and the full hookup range will be $26-$38 per night at the following parks:

Beverly Beach State Park
Bullards Beach State Park
Cape Blanco State Park
Cape Lookout State Park
Devil’s Lake State Recreation Area
Fort Stevens State Park
Harris Beach State Park
Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park
Nehalem Bay State Park
South Beach State Park
Sunset Bay State Park
William M. Tugman State Park
The Cove Palisades State Park
LaPine State Park
Tumalo State Park
Valley of the Rogue State Park
Wallowa Lake State Park
Champoeg State Heritage Area
Detroit Lake State Recreation Area
L.L. Stub Stewart Memorial State Park
Silver Falls State Park

State and local taxes are included in all fees, OPRD said.

These rates include applicable state and local taxes.

All campers in 2021 will pay the same rates. OPRD plans a future public discussion regarding out-of-state rates and making these a normal part of the overnight stay rate structure.

44 percent of OPRD’s budget comes from the Oregon Lottery Fund, while 50 percent comes from park visitors, with another portion coming from recreational vehicle registrations and other sources. Six percent comes from federal funding, primarily for heritage-related programs.

Revenue for OPRD is projected to be down more than $20 million by the end of the 2019-21 biennium that ends June 30. However, the vast majority of parks have already reopened and OPRD said they expect nearly all to be completely back in operation over the next few months.

Although Oregon Lottery and park visitor fee revenue is projected to be down more than $20 million by the end of the 2019-21 biennium that ends June 30, nearly all state parks are open or will be in the next few months, including those parks that will reopen after usual seasonal closures.

“Our visitors and staff have weathered a rough 12 months,” said Lisa Sumption, director of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD). “None of us imagined this time last year that we would face a more than two-month shutdown of Oregon State Parks and then reopen under pandemic and safety precautions, followed by last September’s wildfires that damaged our local communities and several state parks. This February’s ice storm also brought down trees and limbs and damaged some facilities in northern Willamette Valley and Columbia River Gorge parks.

“Our park staff, operating with fewer employees because of a revenue shortfall that prevented us from hiring our usual seasonal staff, have rallied and are looking forward to the coming months,” Sumption added. “We’re very grateful to them, and to all state park visitors for their patience.”

Park staff are evaluating the status of two park campgrounds that were temporarily closed because of wildfire damage: Collier Memorial State Park and Detroit Lake State Park.

Park Manager Aaron Raines at Collier Memorial State Park and Logging Museum says the campground may open later this year, but staff are waiting for the snow to melt to continue assessing and repairing damage caused by the Two Four Two Fire and for State Historic Preservation Office approvals for some work. The Williamson River Day-Use Area and a portion of the Logging Museum are open, although no park access is available to Spring Creek or the Williamson River during restoration efforts. Raines asks that visitors look for closure signs and to not enter restricted areas for their safety.

Detroit Lake State Park remains temporarily closed, although the Mongold Day-use Area and boat launch are open, says Bob Rea, park manager. Rea added that park staff continue to repair infrastructure damaged by the Beachie Fire and says the campground could open by this summer.

Both Raines and Rea say campground site reservations will be available as soon as reopening dates are determined.

Some pandemic-related, temporary changes remain in place based on statewide restrictions to group gatherings, including keeping group facilities and hiker/biker camping areas closed. In addition, visitor stays in yurts and cabins are followed by a one-day resting period. The resting day reduces overall availability, but staff uses the time to thoroughly clean the facilities to ensure visitor safety. Yurt and cabin visits in coastal campgrounds require a two-night minimum stay.

For more information about Oregon State Parks and campgrounds, visit stateparks.oregon.gov.

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