Saturday, October 30, 2010

Beaver Creek and Ona Beach State Park Planning

Recently there was a public meeting of staff from Oregon State Parks and interested citizens on the early stages of developing master plans for the Beaver Creek and Ona Beach State Parks.  The overall process, vision, and timing for the master plans was presented and comments from citizens were listened to and recorded.  There were many comments about access to the parks, need for careful consideration of resources and possible overuse of the parks, especially Beaver Creek, and the need to engage the public in the planning process.  
State Parks has a well-developed planning process that is used for all state parks.  The public is invited to participate through several channels.  A relatively new initiative is called Centennial Horizon which includes long-term planning for all of Oregon’s state parks.  Further information can be seen in the planning section of the State Parks website.  There will be a Beaver Creek and Ona master plan website in a month or two, and in the meanwhile you can send input and comments to or contact the State Parks office in Newport at 541-265-8179.
I have found the staff at State parks to be receptive and responsive to comments by citizens.  If you have a concern or have some words of praise about their planning and activities, let them know.  A comment was made at the recent planning meeting that suggested that State Parks is not responsive to public input and hides their actions, because they did not have enough widely publicized public meetings and open forums about Beaver Creek and Ona Beach.  State parks can be reached any time during business hours and the staff are easy to talk to.  Get involved and don’t wait for an invitation to a public meeting.  
Some interesting planning considerations were introduced at the recent meeting.  The planning process looks out over the next 100 years, as included in the Centennial Horizon.  Master plans will be developed for the Beaver Creek Park and for Ona Beach Park, which are separate but adjacent state natural area and state park.  The state natural area emphasizes wetland and riparian conservation, trails, and interpretation, with only very limited development.  The state park could provide more typical coastal park uses, including a possible low impact campground near the beach.  There will be a complete assessment of resource sensitivity and quality recreation needs.  Resources include habitats, plant communities, wetlands and riparian habitats, hazards, water features, topography, soils, historic and prehistoric culture, and scenic features.  Any needed development in Ona Beach Park will be placed in low quality areas, with buffers to neighbors and higher quality resources. 
Several citizens expressed concern about the possibility for “loving nature to death” in Beaver Creek Park and there was discussion of how to limit public access.  This topic will continue to be an important consideration for Beaver Creek Park.  Real answers to this concern will come from careful observation of public behavior in the park in coming years and using this data in planning further park actions.  One suggestion was that access and trails to Beaver Creek Park should be limited at first and then slowly opened up through time to conserve its unique qualities from human impact.
What do you think about planning for Beaver Creek and Ona Beach Parks?  Let State Parks know your views.  The process is open and free.
Posted by michael  

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