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Play with Pride

Take an intimate hike through a personal wild canyonland. Dip a paddle in the John Day River for the first time. Feel the thrill of cresting the first (or last) hill of the day. This park will take natural outdoor play to its highest level.

What do you think? How important is this to you?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Matthew Griffin permalink
    April 9, 2010 9:30 pm

    Outdoor play is great, but where do we rest at the end of the day? I would love to see this park mirror the features of some of Oregon’s greatest state parks by featuring a variety of lodging options (cabins, yurts, remote tent sites.)

  2. Dyan Kirkpatrick permalink
    April 20, 2010 10:57 pm

    We would also like to see RV sites with hook-ups. The new Stub Stewart park is wonderful, even it if is lacking in privacy (camping sites). We use OR State Parks almost exclusively for our summer trips.

  3. Sarah Norton permalink
    April 21, 2010 9:02 pm

    I agree with Matthew. I myself prefer backpacking and tent camping, and hope that the park has good access to remote campsites. I try to make 3-4 camping trips a year.

    I’m also particularly interested in river access and the sorts of activities that will be encouraged on and nearby: canoeing, kayaking, fishing, etc. It would be especially nice if there was the possibility of multi-day river trips.

  4. Tamera McPherson permalink
    August 16, 2010 9:11 am

    Kids love to fish , a kid friendly spot for fishing would be a bonus:) in addition to Deluxe cabins!!!

  5. Bonnie permalink
    August 24, 2010 10:56 pm

    Great area for equestrian use, too! Please include some sites with corrals for equestrians. Here’s a hint – I bet you can get Oregon Equestrian Trails to help with planning and building of the corrals.

    • August 25, 2010 5:51 am

      Thanks for the comment. Yes, we have equestrians on our park advisory committee, along with a wide range of other locals and natural resource specialists.

  6. Jon Pampush permalink
    November 11, 2010 11:27 pm

    The Cottonwood Canyon State Park property is being purchased in increments by the State of Oregon from the Western Rivers Conservancy who purchased it from the Murtha family in 2008. The property was purchased by WRC for it outstanding conservation values. From the WRC Website –

    “Western Rivers Conservancy has launched a long-term effort to conserve 16 miles of exceptional habitat along the lower John Day. In fall 2008, Western Rivers Conservancy completed purchase of the 8,114-acre Murtha Ranch, together with its 8,000-acre Bureau of Land Management grazing lease.”

    “Our vision is to see the 16,114 acres of deeded and leased lands restored to high-quality native habitat along sixteen spectacular miles of the river, which will be accessible for the public to enjoy.”

    I have been bird hunting the public lands surrounding the new Cottonwood Canyon State Park and floating the John Day River through it for 25 years. I’m familiar with virtually every draw, slope, riffle and island within this new park’s boundary. I’ve also spent thousands of dollars over the years in the local community of Condon and intend to do so in the future.

    Based on my interpretation of WRC’s vision and my own experience in the area, I believe the park should be managed primarily for conservation values while continuing to allow walk-in, horseback, and float-in access. Camping has always been permitted on the BLM lands along the river and multi-day floats are permitted as well. For that matter, access to take-outs is better now than it was in the 1980’s.

    I do not believe the park should offer facilities that support drive-in camping, RV hook-ups, yurts, cabins or other ‘destination’ amenities. I remember back in the 1980’s, when camping was allowed in the parking area, the place was quite chaotic during deer season and gut piles could be found near the camp. I believe developing such facilities would conflict with conservation objectives and generally change the character of the park.

    I find it difficult to imagine this park will attract summer visitors looking for a destination experience. The summer weather in the lower John Day basin is extremely hot, dry, and the area been subjected to years of grazing pressure. The river is so low after run-off that I doubt it would be attractive for kayaking or canoeing? The canyon walls are extremely steep and rocky (I know, I’ve scrambled around much of it) which pretty much restricts hiking and horseback riding to the narrow canyon bottom. The uplands are treeless, windswept grasslands and sagebrush. This is a place of austere beauty best enjoyed in the cool or cold seasons.

    In all likelihood, the bulk of the visitors to Cottonwood Canyon Park will continue to be hunters and fisherman in the fall, early winter, and spring and I believe the existing facilities and access are adequate for this constituency.

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