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Oregon State Parks to open 1,000 additional eclipse campsites April 19

Starting at 8 a.m. April 19, 2017, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) will open reservations for approximately 1,000 campsites for the August 21, 2017, total solar eclipse. These sites are in addition to our regular campsites, most of which have been reserved since November 2016.

About two-thirds of the new sites are inside the path of totality, where visitors will see a total solar eclipse. Most of the others are within 30 miles of totality, in view of a partial eclipse. Prices range from $10 a night for a basic spot in a field or parking lot to $31 a night for an RV site with full hookups. All sites include an $8 nonrefundable reservation fee.

“We want to make this once-in-a-lifetime event available to as many campers as we can safely accommodate. That’s why we decided to add additional campsites, all at an affordable cost,” said OPRD spokesman Chris Havel.

All sites will have a three-night minimum, with check-in on Friday, Aug. 18 and check-out Monday, Aug. 21. Customers can make reservations beginning at 8 a.m. April 19 at or or by calling the reservation line at 800-452-5687.  Questions? Call the Oregon State Parks Information Center at 1-800-551-6949, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Customers may also email their questions to

OPRD is making available two types of sites: traditional campsites and temporary eclipse camping spots.

Traditional campsites, representing about a third of the total sites available, are at parks that normally offer non-reservable, “first-come, first-served” camping. These have picnic tables and fire rings, but some do not have showers. No first-come, first-served camping will be available at these parks the nights of Aug. 18-20:

  • Coast: Beachside, Carl G. Washburne (both outside the path of totality).
  • Willamette Valley: North Santiam, Cascadia (both in path of totality); Cascara Campground at Fall Creek Reservoir (outside the path of totality).
  • Central and Eastern: Farewell Bend, Unity Lake, Clyde Holliday, and Bates (all in path of totality); Cottonwood Canyon, Catherine Creek, Ukiah-Dale, Minam, Red Bridge, Hilgard Junction, Lake Owyhee and Jasper Point (all outside path of totality) .

Two-thirds of the sites are in temporary eclipse camping areas at campgrounds and day-use parks with sufficient space and facilities. These $10 and $11 per-night sites provide a place to park and camp in a parking lot or field, but little else. They do not have hookups, fire pits or picnic tables. Some are at parks without flush toilets or showers; OPRD is adding portable toilets to accommodate extra people. Visitors with reservations for a temporary eclipse site will be assigned a space on arrival at the park.

  • Coast: South Jetty at South Beach, Fogarty Creek, Driftwood Beach and Governor Patterson Memorial (all in path of totality).
  • Valleys: Silver Falls, Willamette Mission (all in path of totality); Champoeg (on the edge of totality); Milo McIver (outside path of totality).
  • Central and Eastern: Smith Rock, The Cove Palisades, Farewell Bend (in path of totality); Cottonwood Canyon (outside path of totality).

Site descriptions for all eclipse camping areas are at, along with links to other camping and lodging options in the state. No camping will be available for anyone without a reservation in the campgrounds listed above on Aug. 18-20.

To accommodate additional campers, OPRD will place extra staff in parks in and near totality and bring in portable toilets. OPRD is also collaborating with local and state authorities on traffic, crowd control and safety.

“Transportation planners predict unprecedented traffic and crowds during the eclipse weekend, and we are planning accordingly,” Havel said. “We ask that campers plan to stay off the roads on the morning of Aug. 21 and respect any fire restrictions.”

Campfires may be prohibited, depending on wildfire danger and the weather forecast. The Oregon Department of Forestry will post any wildfire restrictions at

The eclipse will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 21, 2017. The 60-mile wide path of totality–when the moon completely blocks the sun–will last for about two minutes starting at 10:15 a.m. on the coast between Newport and Lincoln City. The path of totality then sweeps through the state and on to Idaho, then runs across the United States toward South Carolina. Those outside the path of totality will see a partial eclipse. For more information about the eclipse, visit

Oregon wildflower identification at your fingertips (2015)

We spotted this flower durina a recent hike to the paddlers camp at Luckiamute Landing State Natural Area. Using the search by characteristics feature in the Oregon Wildflower app, we decided it's a small flowered fringecup.

We spotted this flower during a recent hike to the paddlers camp at Luckiamute Landing State Natural Area. Using the search by characteristics feature in the Oregon Wildflower app, we decided it’s a small flowered fringecup.

Do you know the difference between a purple-eyed grasswidow and a clasping Venus’ looking glass? I download the Oregon Wildflowers app to find images, descriptions and range maps for these two beauties, as well as for nearly 1,000 additional wildflowers, shrubs and vines common in Oregon.

Available for download on iOS and Android devices, it works without an Internet connection once downloaded. The majority of species featured are native to the region, with some introduced species that have become established. You can find plants by browsing a list organized by common name, scientific name, scientific family name or common family name—you choose. The list also includes high-resolution photographs of each plant.

The shapes and colors of wildflowers have always intrigued me, so the Search by Characteristics feature is my favorite way to identify a plant. Watch this short video for a quick look at searching by characteristics.


We also found this wildflower at Luckiamute Landing State Natural Area. We think it’s a western bluebell, but it could be a northern bluebell. The leaf placement is the main difference between the two.

The app is available at Amazon, Apple and Google app stores for $7.99 and is compatible with all Android devices, Kindle Fire, iPhones and iPads.  The Oregon Flora Project at Oregon State University and High Country Apps developed the app, and a portion of revenues supports conservation and botanical exploration in the region.


If you don’t have time to identify the plant on the trail, take a photo with your phone. Other than needing to switch views between the photo and the app, it’s a simple way to identify the plant later.

Wealth of Oregon — a nostalgic look at our state 64 years ago

Out of the blue, we received a stash of mid-20th-century Oregon travel brochures and maps in the mail from our counterparts in Pennsylvania. Dating from between 1953 and 1955, the publications offer a nifty snapshot of Oregon tourism marketing 60 years ago. One of the items included a 1949 map of Oregon populated with quirky caricatures and corny clichés to illustrate each region’s most iconic features and scenery. What you won’t see on any of the maps is the interstate freeway system, which was still in the planning stages when these maps were published. It’s anybody’s guess how these items ended up in Pennsylvania, but we’re grateful they’ve made it home again more than half a century later.

Click to see a larger, pdf of the map. You can zoom in to see more detail, such as a coyote serenading sheep in southeastern Oregon. Can you guess what geographic feature is represented by a large bone and dog? Hint: it’s now a national monument.

Map artist Hugh Hayes died just this summer at age 98. Read about Hayes’ work and life in a tribute story, “Oregon loses an original with passing of artist Hugh Hayes.” also has an interactive version of Hayes’ iconic Keep Oregon Green map.

Wealth of Oregon map