Cliff Notes From the Smith Rock Master Plan Round 3


UPDATE NOVEMBER 14, 2018:
THE PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO DECEMBER 15, 2018


 Comments added by attendees of the Redmond meeting.

Comments added by attendees of the Redmond meeting.

October 31, 2018

Couldn’t make either the Portland or Redmond Smith Rock Master Plan Meetings last week? Not to worry. You still have an opportunity to make your voice heard. And thanks to a fly on the wall, you can get a sense of what transpired. Then, with all the info below, craft an informed opinion. The comment period will officially close November 30th. (Extended Nov. 14. to December 15, 2018)

The meetings were an open house format, without any formal presentation. There were about 16 or so people who attended the Portland Open House and 31 or so people who attended the Redmond Open House. Several people indicated there were people they knew who didn’t attend, because they were planning to review materials online.

In general, most people seemed pleased with the direction of the Concept Development Plan and agree the elements that will be included in Management Planning. Most of the comments from both meetings were focused on whether or not more parking was needed, ideas about whether or not a shuttle could help, whether or not the bridges would help disperse users, and about changes to the Bivy Campground area. At the Redmond open house, attendees were very eager to post their comments directly on the boards so that others could read their input, and also to engage in friendly debates with other attendees.

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The “Big Ideas” guiding the design process for the Smith Rock Master Plan are 4-fold:

  1. Provide alternate routes and parking alternatives

  2. Prevent bottlenecks in sensitive areas

  3. Identify key locations for preservation and restoration and improve and preserve these sites with continued monitoring.

  4. Design using green building strategies and minimize impact.


The Smith Rock Master Plan Park Concept:

North Point Area:
1. Add an enhanced trailhead at the North Point Trail to the right of the existing amphitheater with a new kiosk.
2. Add a new vault toilet.
3. Add a new trail that originates at the entrance to the parking lot and parallels Crooked River Drive where parking will be removed and connecting to the Homestead Trail, where an enhanced trailhead will go in.
4. Add a shuttle stop.

Day Use (Bus/RV Lot) Area:
1. Add a new welcome center with interpretative program space, a classroom/meeting room, an office, and restrooms at the Day Use Lot with shuttle stop.
2. Add an enhanced interpretative walk trailhead at the Day Use lot connecting to an enhanced Rim Rock Trail.
3. Potentially close the Canyon Trail and extend the Rim Rock Trail to protect access to the water for wildlife habitat.

Bivy/Campground:
1. Associate each campsite with a parking spot and provide a few over-flow parking spots. Fees would be on a per-site basis rather that a per-person basis. A few hiker/biker sites with a per-person fee would remain. An extra vehicle would be allowed on a limited basis.
2. Add 1-2 reservable group campsites.
3. Add a new trail Rim Rock Trail extension off of the northern tip of the Bivy Campground that connects to the 17th Street Trailhead.
4. Relocate the Smith Rock State Park Welcome sign to the park property line on Crooked River Drive.
5. Relocate cooking area and install new cooking shelter.

New 17th Street Lot and Trailhead:
1. Add a new trailhead. (see below)
2. Add a parking area with 50 spaces and a shuttle stop.
3. Add a new vault toilet.

Trails and Bridges:
1. Add a new trailhead at the new 17th Street Trailhead parking lot, and reconfigure existing trails to accommodate the change in users.
2. A new Southern bridge that connects to the River Trail by the Southern Tip.
3. Provide major maintenance to the existing Mesa Verde Trail off of the River Trail past Monkey Face, as well as the Misery Ridge Trail back to the Central Bridge (Reverse Misery Ridge Trail Loop), adding a composting toilet near the River Trail/Mesa Verde intersection.
4. Provide major maintenance to the existing Rim Rock Trail and extend it off of the Bivy Campground as well as parallel to NE Crooked River Dr. and the Homestead Trail to connect to the Chute/Canyon Trail into the park and North Point Parking lot.
5. Reroute/restore the North Point and Homestead Trails, adding a new trail off of the existing Homestead Trail to the new North Bridge connecting to the Wolf Tree Trail by the Burma Ridge Trail connecting to the Burma Road Trail.
6. Replace the existing pedestrian bridge that connects the River Trail and Wolf Tree Trails to the Homestead, Chute, and Canyon Trails.

Parking: (keep at existing level of 484 total spaces; add shuttle)
1. Increase parking at the North Point (Turnaround) lot from 44 to 78 spaces with a shuttle stop.
2. Keep the 101 overflow spaces that are currently in front of the park field station by the North Point lot.
3. Shift 59 parallel parking Crooked River Drive street spaces closest to the overflow lot to North Point and 17th Street Parking areas.
4. Keep 57 head-in parking Crooked River Drive street spaces closest to The Chute/Canyon Trail park entrance, with potential for removal longterm.
5. Shift 25 of the 49 head-in Crooked River Drive street spaces closest to the RV Day Use parking lot to the 17th Street Trailhead.
6. Keep 23 of the 49 head-in Crooked River Drive street spaces closest to the RV Day Use parking lot, with potential to move to the Day Use Area (RV lot).
7. Increase parking at the RV Day Use parking lot from 100 to 123 and add a shuttle stop.
8. Keep the existing 75 Bivy Campground parking lot spaces.
9. Add a 50 space 17th Street Trailhead parking lot with a shuttle turnaround at 17th Street off of NE Wilcox Ave. (Lambert Road)

 
 Smith Rock Master Plan Parking Summary

Smith Rock Master Plan Parking Summary

 

Here are some of the comments that stood out from the sessions feedback:

  • Most people were in favor of the southern trailhead and the southern bridge.

  • People seemed mixed about a new bridge near the Northern Point.

  • A restroom at Monkey Face seems like something most people agree is needed

  • There were mixed reviews about the idea of tying tent sites to parking spots at the Bivy Campground; people didn’t seem to favor reservations

  • There were several comments about people wanting to camp in their car/van at the Bivy


Most of the positive feedback was with regards to the southern bridge and a new trailhead at 17th and Wilcox, and from folks who indicated they thought these subtle changes would help disperse users in areas of the park other than the Misery Ridge Trail. Folks also seemed to understand the areas recommended for management planning. Everyone had great feedback, and we’re hopeful people are continuing to help us spread the word about the open comment period.
— Robin Wilcox, Senior Parks and Trails Planner, Oregon State Parks

Materials were posted online the evening of October 25th. OPRD does value, welcome, and encourage feedback. What are you excited about? What big questions do you still have? What benefits do you think this will have? What’s missing?

Robin Wilcox told us OPRD reviews and considers all of the comments, and a summary of actions and responses will be available with the Draft Master Plan. OPRD is also working closely with adjacent federal land managers, Deschutes County, ODFW, and ODOT through this process.