Cottonwood Canyon–A new park with a wild future (2010)

And you can help shape it

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Want to help plan a wild place? This is your chance to shape a place of unparalleled beauty, where the scale and scope of nature are big, big, big. The longest undammed river west of the Continental Divide. Immense canyons. Big skies. Land.

If you’re intrigued by the chance to create a park that reflects Oregon values, help us with our most far-reaching planning effort ever—the planning of Cottonwood Canyon State Park.

OPRD used $2.3 million in Lottery funds to buy 2,443 acres from The Western Rivers Conservancy in September 2009. Those acres straddle Gilliam and Sherman counties along the John Day River in north-central Oregon and are likely to grow. OPRD has the option to buy another 5,500-plus acres from the Conservancy to add to the property, which is near Highway 206 between Condon and Wasco.

The planning campaign’s kickoff meetings are scheduled for April 26 in Moro, April 27 in Condon and April 29 in Portland. If you can’t attend any of those sessions personally, just go to You will see the materials presented at the meetings and be able to add your opinions at any time. The website also links to an introductory booklet, “The Wild Place.”

The Cottonwood Canyon website will allow you to follow the design of park management on paper to the creation of trails and other recreation features on the ground. The website will track the park’s development right up to an opening ceremony sometime in 2013.

The planning phase will include the drafting of a master plan by spring 2011, culminating in the presentation of a final plan for Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission approval that summer. What will that plan look like? How well can we fit premier recreation experiences, some tied to a 16-mile stretch of the John Day River, into a wild canyonland with habitat for a variety of rare wildlife species? Stay tuned. Better yet, offer your advice. It’s a wild planning ride you won’t want to miss.

Posted on April 14, 2010, in state parks and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Cottonwood Canyon: I would like to suggest a horse camp with many trails to ride into. Some yurts or primitive cabins would be great near or in the horse camp (most don’t have these). For folks who don’t have trailers with living quarters. This would draw horse folks from all around.

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