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May 20 Prineville Reservoir Star Party features the King of Planets

This full-disc image of Jupiter was taken on 21 April 2014 with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3). Photo courtesy of NASA

The King of Planets, Jupiter, will share the night sky with colorful star clusters, nebulae (interstellar clouds of dust and gasses), and distant galaxies at the May 20 Star Party at Prineville Reservoir State Park.

“Central Oregon skies are typically clear and generally free of light pollution, the optimum mix for unforgettable views of night sky objects,” said Paul Patton, resource specialist with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD). “Prineville Reservoir, in particular, is an incredible spot for stargazing. The annual star party is a great early-summer activity for everyone to enjoy.”

Saturday will kick off at 1 p.m. with a scaled down, guided stroll through the solar system. Young rocketeers can design, build and then safely launch their rockets at 3 p.m. followed by a special presentation about Jupiter at 5 p.m. Events leading up to the main stargazing session include a 7 p.m. presentation on astronomy with binoculars and an 8 p.m. astronomy phone apps review. At 10 p.m. “partygoers” can gather at a permanent observatory housing “Big Doug,” a 16-inch telescope, to peer through it and other telescopes provided by professional and amateur astronomers.

A new activity this year is a Virtual Reality Experience Station—goggles provided. Other activities include a solar viewing/solar eclipse information station; a telescope technology display; various children’s activities focused on astronomical science; and a Space Art exhibit featuring renowned space artist and photographer John Foster.

Mark April 7 on your calendar, new cabin reservations open (2011)

Get ready for 16 new deluxe cabins at three state parks

The deluxe cabins open this summer at Prineville Reservoir, Cape Lookout and Fort Stevens state parks. Although reservations begin April 7, opening dates differ for each park.

  • June 15, 2011– Two cabins at Prineville Reservoir open. Rates are $82 (May-September), $60 (October-April). The park already rents three deluxe models year round.
  • July 1, 2011–Fort Stevens unveils 11 cabins— the first ever offered at the park. Rates are $85 (May-September), $62 (October-April). The park also has 15 yurts to go with the largest number of RV campsites (476) in Oregon.
  • Aug. 1, 2011–Three cabins at Cape Lookout open. Rates are $76 (May-September), $56 (April-October). The park has three existing deluxe cabins available all year.

Reservations are available online (April 7) through or by calling Reservations Northwest at 1-800-452-5687. Bookings are accepted for dates two days to nine months in advance.

What makes a cabin deluxe? All the cabins have  a shower/restroom, refrigerator, microwave and sink. Each cabin sleeps 5; one futon folds down into a double bed and one bunk bed has a single on top and a double on the bottom. The bunk bed is in a separate room. A television and DVD player also are included, but you need to bring your own DVDs.

New deluxe cabin at Prineville Reservoir State Park

The deluxe cabins at Prineville Reservoir are 90 percent ready to go. Finishing touches are under way including new asphalt driveways, treating the exterior wood and general cleanup.

More deluxe cabins coming (2010)

Look for them summer 2011 at Fort Stevens, Cape Lookout and Prineville Reservoir

As Veterans’ Day camping destinations go, Fort Stevens State Park has to rank among the top of the list as most appropriate. Where else can you camp next to historic artillery batteries? By this time next year, Fort Stevens will have 10 deluxe cabins  to rent, the first cabins offered at the park.

Cabin construction is under way in the south campground’s A loop, which is closed until the buildings are installed (seven tent sites will remain in the loop). New deluxe cabins will join existing ones at Cape Lookout State Park and Prineville Reservoir State Park–three at Cape Lookout, two at Prineville Reservoir.

Reservations for the new cabins will not be accepted until work is completed late next spring. Call 1-800-551-6949, after Jan. 1, 2011, for updated information.

All the new cabins will meet ADA standards. The new cabins will boost the total number of cabins statewide to 95. Of those, 24 will be deluxe. 

Typical deluxe cabin at an Oregon State Park

A deluxe cabin at LaPine State Park.

Fort Stevens State Park
Cape Lookout State Park
Prineville Reservoir State Park