A family, extreme sports enthusiasts, an artist, international travelers, in-laws visiting Portland from out-of-state, local fruit farmers, kayakers, a sporting goods store owner, native fisherman, a tourist taking a drive….
Everyone is inspired in their own way during a typical day in the Gorge. The following plan proposals aim to support the recreational needs and values of the people we meet in state parks, while celebrating the great diversity of people who characterize the gorge, today and for generations to come. These proposals strive to find a balance between recreation access, natural resource health, scenic beauty management, and fiscal responsibility.
If you’ve been following this planning process for Oregon State Parks in the Columbia River Gorge you know how exciting it is to arrive at the draft plan document stage. We could not have gotten here without your help! Many members of the public, partner agencies, stake holder groups, and state park staff have contributed to the development of this plan.
However, we are not done yet. The gorge is a complex place and we need your help to review this detailed draft plan. The plan is divided into four sections which you can see below. Leave your comments here on the blog, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tell us what you think at our upcoming public meetings on October 22nd and 23rd.
Comments will be accepted on the plan through Friday, November 21, 2014. This reflects a 30-day comment period from the date of the first meeting.
I. Existing Conditions
Read this section to understand the status of state parks in the Columbia River Gorge at the time this plan was written. This section explores the existing uses, facilities, natural and cultural resources, history, and geographical context of the parks within the management unit. Parks are described from a variety of perspectives, with an emphasis on visitor experience.
Read this section to understand the discussion and collective thought behind the proposals shown later in this plan. This section describes the public process for gathering input about the plan, the opportunities and constraints that were identified, and an analysis of the major themes that arose during the existing conditions studies.
III. Plan Proposals
Read this section to understand the long term vision for how OPRD will serve visitors to its parks in the Gorge as well as the management strategies that will be used to maintain these parks going forward.
IV. Plan Implementation
Read this section to learn about the steps for implementing the proposals in this plan, including the priorities and phasing identified for improvements to parks, the estimated costs, and the permitting processes required to make this plan happen over the next 20 years, and find out what you can do to help.
We have changed the date of these meetings from October 15 & 16 to Oct 22 & 23 due to a scheduling conflict. Please note the new dates for the Gorge Oregon State Parks Plan Advisory Committee Meeting on the post below.
The times and locations for these meetings have not changed. Please contact us if you have any questions.
The fourth set of public meetings in the Gorge state park planning process are scheduled for October 22 and October 23, 2014. OPRD staff will present the draft comprehensive plan for state parks in the Gorge and listen to public comment at these meetings. The draft plan includes summaries of the assessments, public input, values and desired benefits of the parks, revised park proposals, phasing and recommendations for the future vision and management of state parks in the Columbia River Gorge. Public discussion at these meetings will allow us to share specific opportunities and challenges at each of our state park sites in addition to hearing what you think about the plans. Public engagement and discussion at this meeting is especially important to the success of the planning effort.
The draft plan will be available online at www.gorgeparksplan.com for review on October 8th, one week prior to the public meetings so please come to the meetings with your questions.You can also review past public meeting materials, including existing conditions, guiding values, and planning proposals on the website. After the meetings there will be a 30 day comment period on the plan and you are welcome to tell us what you think right here on the blog.
The meetings are scheduled as follows:
Advisory Committee Meeting IV Wednesday, October 22, 1:00-4:00pm Port of Cascade Locks Pavilion at Marine Park 355 Wa Na Pa StCascade Locks, OR 97014
(Note: The public may attend the Advisory Committee meeting however, only comments from the committee will be taken at this meeting. Public will have a chance to respond at both of the public meetings listed below.)
West End Public Meeting IV
Wednesday, October 22, 5:30-7:30pm
355 Wa Na Pa St
Cascade Locks, OR 97014
East End Public Meeting IV
Thursday, October 23, 5:30-7:30pm
5000 Discovery Dr
The Dalles, OR 97058
Services, programs and activities of OPRD are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If accommodations are needed, please call 503-986-0723 at least 72 hours in advance of the meeting.
We have updated our current planning schedule and will tentatively be holding the final series of public meetings in October. At these meetings we will be presenting the Draft Comprehensive Plan for Oregon State Parks in the Gorge.
In the meantime we are busy adding your comments into our draft park proposals; drafting phasing priorities and park management strategies. We will announce the exact dates and locations of the next round of meetings as soon as they are finalized.
In the meantime, we wish you another beautiful summer season in the scenic Columbia River Gorge!
Thank you to all who participated in last weeks public meetings, as well as to those who contributed their thoughts through email and on the blog. Your comments on the preliminary proposals for Oregon State Parks in the Columbia River Gorge are already helping our planning team to clarify the priorities for managing state parks over the next 15- 20 years. Below are summaries of our public presentation and the open discussions that followed.
Our next steps are to continue to revise the plan proposals, consider budget and phasing for the projects, develop management strategies for the parks and continue to develop partnership opportunities with neighboring agencies and stake holders. We will be announcing the dates and locations for our last set of public meetings in the next few weeks.
As a result of the thoughtful input you provided at our past planning meetings, the OPRD planning team is ready to present preliminary planning concepts for Oregon State Parks in the Columbia Gorge next Wednesday April 30th and Thursday May 1st. Given the complexity of the Columbia Gorge we are providing a preview of the proposals for your review. As you consider the proposed plans, there are three important points we would like you to keep in mind.
I. The goals for the third set of public meetings are to:
- Summarize the planning process to date.
- Articulate the preliminary planning proposals for state parks (see below).
- Listen to your comments and questions about the proposals.
- Ask for your input on the prioritization of the proposed improvements.
II. This draft set of preliminary planning proposals:
- Focuses on identifying improvements within state parks property relative to how state parks contribute to the existing recreation, cultural resources and natural resources in the National Scenic Area.
- Includes consideration of natural resource and scenic areas that should be protected within state parks property.
- Identifies improvements that can be made to the overall visitor experience in already established state park recreation sites.
- Proposes two significant areas for development at Wyeth and West Mayer and identifies five additional parks with major visitor experience improvement opportunities.
III. Later in the final draft plan document (presented at our next series of public meetings) you will see:
- Revised proposals based on public comments and advisory committee feedback.
- Values, goals and strategies articulating OPRD’S approach to park management in the Gorge for the next 15 years.
- Prioritization of improvement projects with budgets and phasing.
- A summary of the many regional planning ideas that have been suggested and discussed by the public, stakeholder groups, and our advisory committee. (Throughout the planning process OPRD has committed to acknowledge and share larger regional planning ideas with other agencies and stakeholders so as to assist in future region-wide planning efforts. We acknowledge that region-wide planning recommendations are generally beyond the scope of this state parks plan.)
Draft Planning Proposals
Well, what do you think?
Of the improvements proposed, what do you see as priorities?
If you could see only one of the proposed improvements implemented, which would it be?
Are there proposed improvements that you think should wait?
Is there anything you would like to see that hasn’t been captured in the proposals?
Share your thoughts in the comments below or join up for our meetings next week!
The third set of public meetings in the Gorge state park planning process are scheduled for April 30 and May 1, 2014. We have pushed the meetings back a month to allow OPRD more time to coordinate the plan recommendations with partner agencies, including the Forest Service, Counties, and the Gorge commission.
Park staff will present planning concepts
Planning proposals will be available online at www.gorgeparksplan.com for review on April 25, one week prior to the public meetings. You can also visit Gorgeparksplan.com to review past public meeting materials including existing conditions and guiding values.
The meetings are scheduled as follows:Advisory Committee Meeting III.Wednesday, April 301:00-4:00pm
Corbett Fire House
(Note: The public may attend the Advisory Committee meeting however, only comments from the committee will be taken at this meeting.)
West End Public Meeting III.
Wednesday, April 30
Corbett Fire House
East End Public Meeting III.
Thursday, May 1
NOTE: The preliminary planning proposals will be available for review online on April 25th not April 23rd as was originally mentioned in this post.
Making Sense of What We Have…
Existing Conditions Inventories and Guiding Values for Oregon State Park Planning in the Gorge.
We want to thank everyone who participated in the public meetings last week. If you were unable to attend, we encourage you to review our meeting notes below and then email, call or write in.
At last week’s public meetings in the Gorge the OPRD Planning team presented existing condition inventories and shared draft values of our Oregon State Parks in the Columbia River Gorge that will guide the development of planning recommendations.
The presentations summarized a wealth of information collected by experts at OPRD over the past two years in preparation for the Gorge planning process. These inventories included studies of:
- Natural Resources
- GIS Inventory
- Wildlife and Habitat
- Visitor Experience Activities
- Safety and Risk Management
- Visitor Surveys and Public Input
- Park Operating Costs
- Cultural Resources
The assessments comprise one of the most comprehensive inventories ever completed for any management unit in our State Park system. In addition to assisting the park planning process, these inventories will be a valuable tool in managing our parks in the Gorge over the next decade.
To make sense of all this information, the planning team created a connectivity diagram to map park data. This scaled map of the Gorge allows us to visually compare information for each park in the context of the Gorge and display our findings at a glance to better discuss existing conditions and patterns identified throughout the Gorge.
We introduced draft guiding values that were created as a result of our initial public meetings this summer. During the August meetings and in an online survey, we asked people to describe what they valued about the Gorge. These values summarize what heard: people who live and visit the Gorge appreciate it for its scenic beauty, exciting recreation opportunities, unique natural resources, rich cultural heritage, and interconnected communities. These values will shape the strategies that we are currently developing for our parks in the Gorge.
Please download a more detailed summary of our presentation here:
During the meetings we had several great discussions on a number of topics: recreation uses in the Columbia Gorge, access to parks and natural resources, economic draw for communities, park capacity, natural resource protection, universal access, and park partnerships just to name a few. The feedback we heard was extremely valuable and directly shapes the development of plan recommendations and concepts for our park properties. These concepts will be shared at our next round of meetings.
If you were unable to attend one of the meetings, we look forward to hearing from you below or feel free to call and write:
Jaime English, Integrated Park Services
Oregon Parks & Recreation Department
725 Summer Street N.E. Suite C
Salem, OR 97301
Meeting II. Assessments
OPRD is currently conducting resource assessments and visitor experience assessments for the Columbia Gorge State Parks to better understand opportunities and constraints in the management of our park system. At our second set of public meetings we will present these findings. The community members and park staff will then work together to identify the most important values, strategies, and actions needed to guide the comprehensive planning and design efforts in all of the Oregon State Parks in the Columbia River Gorge.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
*The public may attend the Advisory Committee meeting however, only comments from the committee will be taken at this meeting.
Shortly after the 1992 Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area Management Plan was implemented OPRD’s 1994 Master Plan for the Columbia River Gorge Management Unit was adopted by the State Parks Recreation Commission. In the nearly 20 years since these plans were created recreation use in the Columbia Gorge has soared, recreation activities have evolved, parking needs have increased, and natural resources are more impacted.
OPRD is compelled by statute to plan for the management of natural resources and recreation activities on all state park lands. This current planning effort is driven by a 12 year cycle rotating around the state’s park management units with the Columbia Gorge identified as a high priority need by park staff.
To plan for these parks OPRD is taking a comprehensive look at natural, scenic area and cultural resource conditions as well as the management needs, outdoor recreation trends in the region, community partnerships, along with related ideas and concerns identified through public input.
Our intent is to update the 1994 Master plan to address current trends of visitation, recreation activities and natural resource health. The updated plan will emphasize management strategies for the parks facilities, natural, cultural, and scenic resources and the overall quality of visitor experience within Oregon State Parks. This comprehensive plan will aid OPRD in its mission to protect Oregon’s special places now and into the future.
1994 Columbia Gorge Management Unit Master Plan:
Make your Mark on the Map
At our public meeting on August 14th and 15th we asked attendees to make their mark on the map and describe what they would like to see added, changed, removed, or kept just the way it is at our state parks in the Gorge.
Park planners then gave a presentation describing our process for planning state parks in more detail and what followed was an engaged discussion about what people feel is important about the Gorge.
What we heard over and over again is that people love the Gorge because it is a source of inspiration; to play outside, explore new places, learn about geology and history, connect with nature, to create. What we heard most is that the Columbia Gorge is a powerful place that inspires the soul and that it needs to be managed in such a way as to allow people to access it now and in the future. It became clear that both protecting and providing access to the Columbia River Gorge benefits local communities as well as park visitors.
Are you inspired by the Columbia River Gorge?
If you missed the meeting you can still share your comments with us by taking our online survey or leaving comments below. We will post the summary of our on-line survey in a few weeks.