Update-Beaver Creek State Natural Area

Update 2/22/11; newsletter from OPRD planning department.
Master Planning Beaver Creek State Natural Area 
and Ona Beach State Park 

February 2011 Newsletter 

Beginning a Master Planning Process 
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is beginning a master planning process for Beaver Creek State Natural Area and Ona Beach State Park located south of Newport in Lincoln County.  Beaver Creek State Natural Area (SNA) was recently acquired and opened with initial improvements as Park of the Year for 2010.  Ona Beach State Park was recently expanded with the acquisition of a large parcel on the east side of Highway 101. A master plan is needed to fully address future recreational use and resource management in both parks. In the planning process OPRD will take a comprehensive look at current information on natural and cultural resource conditions and management needs related to both parks, outdoor recreation trends in the region, areas within the parks that are suitable for recreational development and use, possible affects of park uses on local public facilities services and neighboring land uses, and related ideas and concerns identified through public input. 

Assessments of the parks’ natural and cultural resources are scheduled for completion by late summer 2011. Some of this work was previously completed in preparing a site development plan for the limited development needed for the opening of Beaver Creek SNA. Once these assessments are completed for the rest of the park property, OPRD will take the next step in mapping opportunity areas, identifying areas that are suited for potential recreational development and resource management activities. The map of opportunity areas, supported by the resource assessments, will provide a basis for discussing options for future development and management of the parks in upcoming public meetings. 

Opportunities to Participate 
At key times during the planning process, OPRD holds public meetings followed by written comment opportunities to ask for input on planning issues, goals, use and development concepts, and management strategies. Concurrently, OPRD also holds meetings with a Stakeholder Committee made up of representatives of key interest groups and agencies. The first round of public and stakeholder meetings usually occurs when OPRD has information to share on the park resource conditions and opportunity areas, based on the resource assessments. Accordingly, this first full set of meetings is expected to occur in early fall 2011. (However, OPRD may hold one or more early meetings of Stakeholder Committee members, before completion of the resource assessments, as appropriate to share information emerging from the assessment process and to take full advantage of information and expertise offered by Committee members regarding the assessments in progress.) The next round of public and stakeholder meetings normally occurs when OPRD releases a draft master plan for public review and comments. Optimistically, the draft plan should be ready for public review in late winter 2012. Later in the process, formal meetings on the draft master plan provide additional opportunities for public comments. Comments can be made at a meeting of the State Parks Commission where OPRD asks the Commission for their concurrence on the draft plan. Following, OPRD will hold a public hearing when the draft plan is proposed for adoption as a state rule, and Lincoln County will hold a hearing when the draft plan is presented for land use approval. OPRD’s anticipated master planning schedule will be posted at the master plan web site currently under construction. (See web site address on the reverse side of this newsletter.)

When Will The Stakeholder Committee Be Formed, and Who Will Be On It? 
OPRD is now in the process of identifying key interest groups and agencies that should be represented on the Stakeholder Committee. Persons or groups who wish to participate on the Committee should make their request to OPRD through the contact listed on the reverse side of this newsletter. Final selections will be decided by agreement between the OPRD Coastal Region Manager and Planning Manager. The roster of selected Committee members and the groups they represent will be posted at the master plan web site currently under construction. In general, the criteria used to select Committee members are: 1) The represented group has a significant stake in the outcome, or the representative has professional expertise of particular value to the planning process; 2) The group representative will represent his/her group’s interests ahead of personal interests, and coordinate comments with and convey information to his/her group; 3) The representative is willing to work toward consensus and seek solutions that address multiple interests; 4) The representative is available to attend the meetings; 5) Duplication of membership is generally avoided in representation of an interest, agency or expertise (although members may identify a backup representative to participate in their absence).  

Is OPRD Trying To Add More Land To The Parks? 
OPRD is continuing to negotiate with interested land owners for possible expansion of the park properties. A map of OPRD’s current ownership will be posted at the master plan web site currently under construction. 

Will Any More Development Occur In The Parks Before The Master Plan Is Completed? 
Prior to the official opening of Beaver Creek SNA, limited improvements were needed ahead of the master planning process to provide for basic management of the visitation that was already occurring. Property acquisitions for Beaver Creek included a dwelling that was well suited as a base for visitor contact and orientation with the addition of some parking, signage, a host site, and minor modifications to the dwelling. Because the improvements were limited, they were allowed through a standard land use permit. Before the master plan is completed, additional changes in the parks will be limited to management activities such as control of weeds, control of unauthorized vehicular access on existing forest roads, and vegetation management for forest health and fire protection.  

What Is a State Park Master Plan? 
State park master plans are defined and adopted in state rule. A park master plan guides the development and use of park facilities and the protection and management of important natural, cultural and scenic resources within the park boundaries. The plan is a written and illustrated reference that describes the planning purpose and process, existing park facilities, expected future recreation demand, the suitability of the land for resource protection or recreational development, issues related to public use and management, park goals and objectives, development concepts for future uses and development in the parks, and guidelines for managing the park resources. The useful life of a park master plan is generally no longer than 20 years before it needs to be updated, and the projects described in a master plan may take as long as 10 to 20 years to be fully implemented. 

Where Can I Review The Draft Plan? 

Master plan web site (currently under construction).  As materials produced during the planning process become available, including the draft plan, any addendums to the draft, the final plan, newsletters, etc., they may be reviewed at the master plan website at http://egov.oregon.gov/OPRD/PLANS/planning_ona&beaver.shtml.

OPRD offices. When available, the plan can also be viewed at the OPRD headquarters office in Salem (see address below), and at the South Beach State Park office near Newport, at 5580 South Coast Highway. 

Questions or Comments? 
Please direct questions or comments to: 

Ron Campbell, Master Planning Coordinator  (503) 986-0743 
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department 
725 Summer Street, Suite C    ron.campbell@state.or.us  
Salem, Oregon 97301-1271 

Update 9/01/10; The Beaver Creek State Natural Area officially opens on October 1, 2010.  Check in with the State Park sites for further information, Beaver Creek trail guide, and Beaver Creek birding checklist.  Looking forward to much more information from State Parks on the natural history and human history of the area.  This is the fruition of many years of community participation, planning, fundraising, acquisition, and good old fashion fun.  Congratulations to all of the people involved in the superb conservation effort that has maintained an important legacy; Beaver Creek and the marsh that flows into the Pacific Ocean, by way of Ona Beach.

Got word 5/12/2010 from Dennis Comfort, State Park Ranger for Beaver Creek Natural Area, that the Governor's office has adjusted the date for the grand opening of the Beaver Creek Natural Area.  It will be sometime in October and we will give you a date when we get it.


Received this update on April 3, 2010 from Oregon State Parks (OPRD, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department).  Acquisitions for the Beaver Creek State Natural Area now include the Keady property (319 acres), the Fuller property (30 acres), and the Price property (25 acres).  More information can be obtained from John Allen at 541-265-8179, e-mail john.allen@state.or.us

Click on the pictures to see larger versions.