Walking the Smith Rock State Park Master Plan
November 30, 2018
After pouring over the proposed Smith Rock Master Plan maps and descriptions to provide feedback to Oregon Parks and Rec before the December 15 deadline, we were still a tad confused. We thought you might be too. We asked Scott Brown, Smith Rock State Park Manager to review the maps with us and take us to some of the sites of the biggest proposed changes.
There are 4 main areas affected by the Smith Rock Master Plan Concept:
The North Point Area
The Day Use (Bus/RV Lot) Area
The Bivy/Campground Area
The NEW South Point (17th Street Lot and Trailhead) Area
While we did not walk this area with the Park Manager, we did ask about the proposed Rim Rock Trail extension, shown in the concept image as a red line. It essentially will run parallel to Crooked River Drive, where car parking has been eliminated, connecting to the access road that goes down into the park at the Overlook, as well as connects to the existing Rim Rock Trail. A shuttle stop as well as a new vault toilet with two stalls will be added to the lot that will grow from its 44 existing parking spaces to 78.
A new trail extension of the existing Homestead Trail is proposed to connect to a new North Bridge over the Crooked River to the existing Wolf Tree Trail. (See just above inset area on context image.)
#2: The Day Use (Bus/RV Lot) Area: this area lies just to the east of the existing park entrance sign, where oversize vehicles park in addition to cars.
A new Welcome Center with interpretative program space, classroom/meeting room, an office, and restrooms are proposed here, along with a shuttle stop. The existing Rim Rock Trail would be extended to connect to the proposed South Point Area. Parking would grow from 100 to 123 spaces.
#3: The bivy/campground Area: this area lies south of the day use area and before the existing park entrance sign. It is a walk-in campground with a separate parking lot for those paying camping fees.
A pilot program of reservation camping for 15+ spaces is proposed, along with a restructured, larger parking lot with spaces that correspond to tent sites, with a few overflow spaces, charged by site vs person. Rather than pads, areas will be delineated much the way the current restoration areas are. A few hiker/biker sites as well as 1-2 reservable group sites are proposed. The current picnic area will be relocated and and new cooking shelter will be installed. The Smith Rock State Park Welcome sign will be relocated to the park property line by the Bivy.
#4: The NEW South Point (17th Street Lot and Trailhead) Area: THIS AREA LIES parallel to wilcox avenue and starts close to the 17th Street intersection, before the current turn into the park off crooked river drive.
The NEW South Point (17th Street Lot and Trailhead) Area is proposed to house 50 parking spaces, a vault toilet, and a shuttle stop. It is positioned across from the Smith Rock Ranch (Pumpkin Patch) parking property on Wilcox, just after you pass NE 17th Street. A section of the existing Canyon Trail will be accessible to hike to the proposed South Bridge to cross the Crooked River to the River Trail by the Southern Tip. The current section of the Canyon Trail from the new South Bridge to the horse ford by the intersection of the Rope-de-Dope Trail will be closed. An extension of the Rim Rock Trail will be added to connect to the Bivy/Campground Area, then continue on past the Day Use Area and current Welcome Center to new North Point extension as detailed earlier.
Lastly, the current one-lane pedestrian bridge that connects to the River Trail and Tree Trails is planned to be replaced with a 6-8 foot wide bridge that will stay close to its present location. The current bridge will stay in place during construction. Please also note that the proposed master plan development does not have a current dedicated funding source and any development projects that make it into the final approved master plan may not be realized for some time.
If you have any specific comments or questions about the Smith Rock Master Plan, now’s the time. You have until December 15 to make your opinions heard.