TERREBONNE, OR -- Smith Rock State Park will soon have a new Master Plan. Park Manager Matt Davey says the draft expected to be released in the next few weeks focuses on a few key themes, "Parking congestion, flow of visitation, trail enhancement and education and interpretive opportunities at the park." It's expected to be approved by the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission in June.
Master Plans function as a 20-year vision for a State Park, and upgrades and needs not outlined in a plan don’t get funded. Davey tells me the last Master Plan for Smith Rock was developed in 1991, when it saw about a quarter of the visitors it sees now, "The park has changed a lot. Visitation has dramatically increased and there’s a need for some new physical infrastructure to help accommodate that too; more restrooms, we’re proposing a welcome center to help orient people who come visit the park." He says a parking reservation system could also be implemented, to help manage crowds during peak times.
Davey tells KBND News Master Plans typically take two years to develop, but this one has taken nearly seven, "The Smith Rock Master Plan is an anomaly. It started in 2016, it had a series of three advisory-committee and public meetings in 2017 and 2018, all of the assessments were done - like wildlife and recreation assessments - and surveys were done back then. It stalled due to some staffing changes that happened right after 2018, and then the COVID pandemic." He adds, "The welcome center and that specific type of parking that we’re proposing with those projects, because they weren’t part of the ‘91 Master Plan, we couldn’t actually do them until we updated the plan. So, that’s why we’re pushing this process through so that we can move forward with those projects that were already set to go."
A draft of the new Smith Rock Master Plan is posted HERE. Then, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department will host two meetings on April 10th to get public feedback:
- An online Zoom meeting is set for 3-4:30 p.m. Register HERE.
- A 6-7:30 p.m. in-person meeting is scheduled at
Bend Parks & Recreation Riverbend Community Room
799 SW Columbia St. Bend OR, 97702
Once the plan is posted, comments can be submitted by email or online form or in writing to:
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Attn. Jenna Marmon
725 Summer St. NE, Suite C
Salem, OR 97301.
Comments received during the comment period (April 10- May 15) will be collected and reviewed for inclusion into the draft document, which will then be presented to the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission for adoption at the June 2023 meeting.