Oregon State Parks officials are in the process of closing a deal on over 8,000 acres of ranchland 60 miles southeast of The Dalles. The acreage, running alongside the John Day River, will become Oregon's second largest State Park, dubbed Cottonwood Canyon. The new park is slated to open in
September of 2013. Although 8,000 acres is large amount of land, it's possible the state will wrangle a deal with the the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to mix in another 10,000 acres of federal land from their jurisdiction.
What will this new park be like? In the view of Park's officials, "development" of the land itself will be minimal. The major constructs will be the visitor center at State Highway 206 where it crosses the John Day. There, plans call for a "small campground" and a boat launch. Six miles farther downstream in the Hay Creek area, plans call for another campground, although this will be a "walk in" camp.
For RVers, the question is: What kind of amenities will we find? RVers will be welcomed, but don't look to see full hookups. Whether that means electrical will be available for the high temps of summer remains to be seen, but full hookups are out.
State planners are looking at recreational values that center on the river, including the possibility of concessions operated float trips, and hiking trails through the grasslands of the area. Horses and riders are another possible constituency that will look to the new park. From the looks of the park's blog, they'll be plenty of wildlife and bird watching to be done.
We'll keep you posted as more information on the development of this new park becomes available.
photos: oregon parks and recreation