Appeal of Curry County State Parks Master Plan

Oregon proposes to give four oceanfront State parks to developers for Old-Growth museum, treetop trails scheme parking lots and visitors centers! (later all withdrawn).

Mr. Robert L. Meinen, Director
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department
cc: see below

June 1, 1999

Kalmiopsis Audubon Society
Audubon Society of Portland
Coast Range Association
Oregon Natural Resources Council
Oregon Sierra Club
Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition
Siskiyou Regional Education Project
Wild Wilderness

Re: The Canopy Project and other objectionable developments as proposed in the Curry County State Parks Master Plan

The above groups have always been supporters of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD). We appreciate the hard work of OPRD's dedicated staff, and we have vigorously advocated for the Department's stable, long–term funding. However, we are gravely concerned and extremely opposed to the direction the Department appears to have taken in its recent Draft Master Plan for Curry County State Parks.

The Draft Curry Master Plan released on 5/4/99 emphasizes commercial exploitation of substantial portions of the 9000 acres of rugged, mostly pristine and undeveloped public lands OPRD manages along 70 miles of the southern Oregon coast. The plan envisions multi-million dollar construction projects in several of these sensitive parks:

Construction of a 21,000 sq. ft. "Interpretive Center" with up to 280 parking spaces on sensitive, undeveloped park land at either Otter Point SRS; Geisel Monument SHS, or Twin Rocks above Lone Ranch in the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor. This $12 million project would be controlled by a private corporation, and the public charged $6.00/person for access.

Construction of a complex, highly mechanized "Canopy Walk Trail" on park lands at Alfred A. Loeb State Park (the only native Redwood grove in Oregon). This $6 million project would be controlled by the same private corporation, and the public charged $45.00/person for access.

Construction of a 4000 sq. ft. "Visitors' Center" with parking for 100 cars and RVs at Crissey Field SRS, near the California border. This project would necessitate building a multi–million dollar under/overpass to ensure safe access from Highway 101.

Initiation of an expansive, multi–phased extension of facilities at Cape Blanco State Park. This project would add camper cabins and many other new structures. It would significantly expand campgrounds with an emphasis on increased RV capacity.

Each of the sites under consideration for over–development has significant environmental features susceptible to disturbance including: 1) important seabird nesting areas; 2) unique plant communities; 3) geologic hazards; 4) potential nesting sites for endangered Northern Spotted Owls and Marbled Murrelets. Consequently, the environmental community of Oregon as represented by the undersigned, views the draft with dismay for its over–emphasis on commercialization and out–of–scale development in remote, sensitive and pristine venues.

Beyond these concerns about specific project proposals, however, we are even more distressed by the public policy implicit in handing over ecologically sensitive public property to build multi–million dollar projects financed by additional public funds.

We urge you not to pursue such short–sighted strategy. Such a policy would not only fail the present citizens of Oregon, but risk the treasured heritage OPRD is charged with protecting for our children and the future.

With regard to the Curry County State Parks Master Plan, we urge that OPRD eliminate all references to support for an "Interpretive Center" or a "Canopy Walkway" on public land. We urge OPRD that plans for a "Visitors' Center" at Crissey Field be scrapped. We urge that OPRD scale back expansionary plans for Cape Blanco State Park.

Thank you:

Jim Britell, Conservation Chair
Kalmiopsis Audubon Society
Port Orford, Oregon
Chuck Willer, Executive Director
Coast Range Association
Corvallis, Oregon
Ken Rait, Executive Director
Oregon Natural Resources Council
Portland, Oregon
Charlie Ringo, Conservation Chair
Oregon Sierra Club
Portland, Oregon
Fran Recht, Presiden
Oregon Shores Conservation Coalitiont
Depoe Bay, Oregon
Paul Ketcham, Conservation Chair
Audubon Society of Portland
Portland, Oregon
Kelpie Wilson, Executive Director
Siskiyou Regional Education Project
Cave Junction, Oregon
Scott Silver,Executive Director
Wild Wilderness
Bend, Oregon

[Ed. For a better sign-on letter and info on how to organize them see Organize To Win pg.15]

#70, (v 1.3) 3/13/11

©1999 Jim Britell
All rights reserved.
May not be reproduced without permission.

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