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A Late Spring and Event Change

April 3, 2014

Due to the late spring we will be making a change on the Wildflower Hike which had been scheduled for April 12th. We will be moving the hike back to May 10th at 10 AM and swapping the Wildflower Hike with the Ranger Led Interpretive Hike. So . . .

April 12th Ranger Led Interpretive Hike–10 AM

May 10th Wildflower Walk–10 AM


On another note we had a great turn-out for our fist service project thanks to Western Rivers Conservancy with eight people planting over 300 shrubs. This was a huge success and a huge amount of work. Thank you; thank you; thank you. And it’s not to late to sign up for the next service project on April 26th. Image




Come Experience Spring at Cottonwood

March 23, 2014

The Canyon Wrens are singing. The wildflowers are starting to pop. The days are warmer. Longer. Sunnier. Spring is returning to Cottonwood.

To celebrate we have partnered with friends to offer several different ways to experience Cottonwood this spring. From service projects to wildflowers walks to Ranger guided hikes we have an experience to help you escape from the cabin and cure the fever. All of these events meet at the Visitor Center and we would like an RSVP either through commenting here or calling 541-394-0002 or 541-394-0004.

Can’t make one of these events and have a group of folks who would like to come out for a guided hike or volunteer project? Contact us and we will work with you to make it happen.

Saturday April 12th: 10 AM-Ranger Guided Hike

  • Type of Hike: Ranger Led hike focusing on the development of Cottonwood Canyon State Park
  • Distance: 3-5 miles
  • Meeting Area: Cottonwood Canyon State Park Visitor Center
  • What to Bring: Closed toe shoes; drinks and snacks
  • Maximum number: 10–please call or comment to RSVP

Saturday, April 26th: 10 AM to 4 PM

  • Type of Work: Transplanting of Sage along road cuts; caging and bark mulching of native plants; hand removal of non-native species; fence removal–this project is a moving target based on weather and other factors more information will be posted
  • Meeting Area: Cottonwood Canyon State Park Visitor Center
  • What to Bring: Heavy Leather work gloves; closed toe shoes; long sleeve shirts and pants that can sustain a barb wire snag/rip
  • Minimum Age: 10 (Due to nature of work)
  • Maximum number: 10–please call or comment to RSVP

       In Partnership with Solve It! Earth Day Projects

Saturday, May 10th: 10 AM-Wildflower Hike

  • Type of Hike: Wildflower Hike led by Region Natural Resource Specialist
  • Distance: 3-5 miles on flat ground
  • Meeting Area: Cottonwood Canyon State Park Visitor Center
  • What to Bring: Closed toe shoes; drinks and snacks; questions to stump the expert!
  • Maximum number: 10–please call or comment to RSVP

Can’t wait to see you this spring!

Volunteer at Cottonwood

February 15, 2014

Do you ever dream of being pImageart of something special? Maybe, the opening of a new state park? To build a trail for future generations? Help deliver and develop interpretive programs? Plant trees that will restore the John Day River and one day provide shade for visitors? Or just help visitors enjoy 8,000 acres of terrain and sixteen miles along the banks of the John Day River in eastern Oregon?

Here is your chance. Cottonwood Canyon State Park is now open and we are looking for one maintenance and one day use/campground host willing to commit at least one month. We currently have openings for one month, May through November.

We also have room for individuals and groups interested in interpretation, trail building, native plant restoration and (maybe) special construction projects. We are full of unique opportunities for involvement… but it might not be for everyone.

There is “remote” and then there is “Cottonwood remote”. There is no cell phone reception at the park and the closest town with full services is 40 minutes away. The park is still being developed and there are only young trees in the host site. We are in the desert and summers are very hot – temperatures hit a high of 112 last year and spring/fall can be cold. What we CAN offer is electricity to power on-site laundry and the AC; water to quench your thirst; and a beautiful spot!

With the remoteness of Cottonwood comes a special place in nature, one that Oregon State Parks is very excited about sharing with you. Even if you’re not interested in hosting, or just wondering what you are getting yourself into, come on out to Cottonwood Canyon State Park for a visit. Please call the Park Ranger David Spangler for more information at 541-394-0002 or spend a few minutes reading about volunteering in Oregon Parks at

Public Meeting for Cottonwood Canyon State Park Lease Option with Prineville BLM

January 10, 2014
Monday, January 13, 2014 from 6 – 8 pm;  Memorial Hall, 120 S. Main St., Condon, OR.
Please join us! Prineville Bureau of Land Management (BLM)  is requesting public input on options to issue the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (ORPD) a lease for about 10,000 acres in the lower John Day River basin, 22 miles northwest of Condon, Oregon. The State would manage the leased lands together with the Cottonwood Canyon State Park. The proposed lease would identify the terms and conditions for how ORPD could use the public land, including the development and maintenance of almost 32 miles of roads and trails. Without this lease, ORPD would not be able to connect trail segments and would limit public access in this area for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. If the lease is approved, camping would also be limited to ORPD’s designated sites within the park boundary. For more maps of the proposed development and trail system please go to cottonwood-plan-maps-ch10.
As a result of the new State park, the BLM is also considering setting a boating use level to this segment (Segment One) of the John Day Wild and Scenic River to account for the possibility of increased use and interest. BLM is considering limits to the number of groups per day between May 15 and December 31.
These actions are needed to work with ORPD to provide the public a seamless recreation experience with access to both the land and water in this area and to identify the kinds and amount of public use that the river can sustain without impact to the Wild and Scenic River values, such as fisheries and recreation.
The BLM is in the scoping phase of the analysis, which means that any comments received by the public or interested parties will be used to identify issues and develop alternatives.  Although there will be additional opportunities to comment, BLM is requesting input now so that it can be considered early, and invites you to share concerns about how actions related to this proposal might affect other resources or uses. Topics to consider might include boating use limits, visual resources, wildlife, recreation or historic/cultural resources.
Comments can be made at the meeting or sent to:
Prineville BLM
Attn Cottonood Canyon EA
3050 NE 3rd St.
Prineville OR 97754

First Day Hike

December 29, 2013

What a better way to start a New Year then to explore a New Park! We will be offering a Ranger led hike on January 1st at noon as part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes. If you have been holding out on visiting January 1st could be the right day. And the campground is open.


Although, we will not have a zombie apocalypse survival offering like Honeyman State Park we will offer a great hike focusing on the cultural and natural history of the area. Also, we feel that the Zombie’s will have a little trouble working their way through the very prepared folks in Sherman and Gilliam County.

So again. . .

Date: January 1st

Time: Noon-2PM

Distance: 2 miles

Where to Meet: Cottonwood Canyon State Park Pinnacles Trail Head (near the campground)

More Information: 541-394-0002

See you there.

It’s 105 degrees cooler. . .

December 7, 2013

then our 112 high in July. Come on out and enjoy all the variety Cottonwood has to offer.

The water fountains are closed for the winter. But. . .


Lone Tree Campground is open with your choice of spots. And . . .

Campground Winter

The lights are on in the day use area.


Just be careful of snowy roads. Main

A Couple of Months. . .

November 26, 2013

The blog has been quiet, but we’ve been busy. Somehow it’s been almost two months since we had the amazing Grand Opening of Cottonwood Canyon. We’re now hunkering down for winter as  fewer visitors  make the trip and we start to winterize the park.

Since the opening, the sage sniffers, hikers, hunters, fisher-kids and their fisher-parents and curious folks have come in a steady stream to visit the park. We even filled the campground the first week of October—and then realized we never ordered a “campground full” sign!

When our first camp hosts (John and Christina Collard & Bo and Mary Macnab) came in, we realized we never got around to putting in the camp host sign or a fire pit in the host sites. Luckily, they were understanding and even helped (ok, they did most of the work) put in the camp host sign, added rock around the site and installed a fire pit.

We hosted all 60 students of Condon’s kindergarten through sixth grade on Oct. 18, cooperating with Oregon State University Extension Service, Gilliam County Water Master, local artists, and the Native Fish Society. And yes, there are only 60 students in all of K-6 grades—hey, we live in a rural area. We hope to continue similar programs with other schools and groups. If you’re interested in coming out to any type of interpretive or educational program, leave a reply on this site and we’ll get back to you.

The Visitor Center was a wonderful small meeting room for a regional parks interpretive workshop and the Lower John Day Management Work Group. We hope to continue to use this space as a parks meeting room and develop a system for other groups to share the space.

Finally, the landscapers are putting in the trees, shrubs and a great demonstration garden of native plants. The contractors are finishing up the first phase of construction and we are actively planning the second phase of construction with irrigation and planting of the field and campground starting in December.

Demo Garden

Watch for a series of posts in the coming months about future park plans and projects. If you haven’t come to visit, we can still have some great days in the canyon even though other areas may be rainy and cold. Check the weather and come on over!


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