Author Archives: the Oregon State Parks Team

Celebrate rock festival history at Milo McIver Aug. 8

Exploring Vortex 1-- Aug. 8, 2015

Rock and roll band Steelhead headlines the 45th anniversary celebration of the original Vortex rock concert held August 1970 at Milo McIver State Park. Exploring Vortex I: Music in the Park is set for Aug. 8, 3-8 p.m. in  the Vortex Meadows.

Bring the family for face painting, hula hooping, tie dying and bubble blowing. The celebration also includes a photo display and movie theater, storytelling, and photo and comic vendors. Local author Matt Love will welcome the crowd and lead a guided walking tour. If you’re hungry, Lew’s BBQ will be on-site.

Reminder — Although drinking alcoholic beverages is allowed in the park, using marijuana isn’t. The statute says recreational marijuana is prohibited in parks. See for more information.

Were you at Vortex 1? Bring any photos of the 1970 event and have them scanned and added to the Vortex archive. Your photos will be returned on the spot. Volunteers will also record anyone interested in sharing their Vortex stories, which will be shared with the Estacada Community Library.

Vortex I remains the only state-sponsored rock festival in American history, and was a novel concept in 1970, when both Woodstock and the Kent State shootings were forefront in Americans’ minds. Then Governor Tom McCall made history by partnering with antiwar demonstrators to organize a concert at the park to avoid conflict in downtown Portland during a scheduled visit of President Nixon.

This event is open to the public, and donations will be accepted to fund a permanent monument in Vortex Meadow. Day-use parking is $5.

Milo McIver State Park (park information, map and driving directions)

Join guided hikes on the OC&E Woods Line State Trail

Four-hike series this summer and fall

Sunshine on the OC&E State Trail in the Sprague Valley.

Sunshine on the OC&E State Trail in the Sprague Valley.

The OC&E Woods Line State Trail is Oregon’s longest linear park, built on 100-miles of the  Oregon, California and Eastern Railroad railbed. You can join Saturday guided hikes beginning July 25 that explore sites along the trail between Klamath Falls and Bly.

Park rangers and guest speakers will explain how the area’s geology and climate influenced human settlement, and how humans in turn have affected the environment of the Lost River and Sprague River watersheds.

The hikes will last about two hours and will cover some ground off the main trail. The hikes are free, but parking is limited. Please preregister by calling (541) 783-2471 or (541) 883-5558.

  • July 25 – “Finding a Way through Lost River Gap.” Meet at the Olene trailhead at 10 a.m.  Learn how the OC&E, Highway 140 and irrigation canals all pass through the gap at Olene. Distance: 2 miles round trip.
  • Aug. 8 – “Nothing Tougher than a Juniper.” Meet at Rice’s Feed Store in Dairy at 10 a.m. Why is western juniper ideally suited to the Klamath Basin’s semi-arid climate? An optional hike will explore Bureau of Land Management rangeland near the trail. Distance: 3-4 miles.
  • Sept. 19 – “Boom and Bust on the Sprague.” Meet at the Sprague community hall at 10 a.m. Learn about the history of the town’s sawmill and how humans have influenced the Sprague River. Distance: 2 miles round trip.
  • Oct. 3 – “Of Aspens and Maars.” Meet at the Switchbacks trailhead at 10 a.m. Explore how region’s forests are affected by topography and logging. Distance: 2-3 miles.

OC&E Woods Line State Trail (park information and driving directions)

OC&E trail history and map (includes trailhead locations)

Grant’s Getaways: The Oregon Coast’s timeless dunes

Trivia question: The Oregon Dunes landscape inspired a Seattle journalist to write which sci-fi classic? Hint: Arrakis

Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park (park & campground information and driving directions)

Cape Arago State Park (park information and driving directions)


Wolf Creek Inn temporarily closed

Grounds surrounding building remain open

Wolf Creek Inn

The historic Wolf Creek Inn State Heritage Site will be closed for construction during the 2015 season. The project, to install a climate control system designed to protect the historic integrity of the late 1800s building, will coincide with the search for a new concessionaire to operate the Inn.

You can still stop and explore the area during the building closure. Picnic tables, a portable restroom, electric vehicle charging station, and rose garden are available at the park, located in the town of Wolf Creek at Exit 76 on Interstate 5, 20 miles north of Grants Pass. The nearby Golden State Heritage Site is also open.

The climate control system will allow better management of temperature and humidity in the Inn, believed to have been built between 1873 and 1880 as one of many similar way stations serving travelers and explorers on the early roads and trails in western Oregon. The estimated cost of the project is $400,000, funded by the share of Oregon Lottery profits dedicated to state park repairs, and includes accessibility improvements to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Plans for the future Wolf Creek Inn concessionaire contract are under way. A “Request for Proposals” may be issued in the fall/winter of 2015, which could lead to a contract with a new concessionaire for the 2016 season.

People interested in receiving notice when the re-opening date is set can send their contact information to