Open Season: Various local campgrounds reopen under modified guidelines

Open Season: Various local campgrounds reopen under modified guidelines

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Some campgrounds around the state have reopened, and just in time for Memorial Day weekend. 

Stay-at-home restrictions have eased since Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued the first phase of her plan for the state to reopen, and many local businesses are taking steps toward a return to normalcy.

That also applies to campgrounds and recreational areas, which have opened to varying degrees in some locations, while remaining entirely closed in others. The Corvallis Gazette-Times and Albany Democrat-Herald have assembled a list of local camping areas that will be open to the public during the holiday weekend.

Linn County

Several campgrounds throughout the county have already opened and are fine to camp at, as long as campers continue to obey the counties social distancing rules. A full list of open locations, with site-specific guidelines, can be found on the Linn County website

Locations in Linn County that are open in some capacity include: River Bend County Park, Sunnyside County Park, Clear Lake Resort (partially reopened), Waterloo County Park, and Edgewater RV Park and Marina.

Some campers have already flocked to the popular local areas to continue holiday traditions. Connie and James Chambers have camped at Waterloo Park over Memorial Day weekend for years, and are doing so again this weekend. 

So far, the guidelines provided by Linn County have not drastically altered their experience, and they are enjoying the annual trip just as much as they have in years past. 

“It has affected us a little bit, yes,” Connie Chambers said. “Because there are some things (Linn County) wants you to be aware of and do. But we make the best of it because we know that’s what’s best for everyone.”

Connie Chambers said she and James are camping with a larger group that includes 12 RVs in total, and they shared the county's guidelines with their group before the trip began so they would be aware of the expectations. 

“We’re all just really happy since we have been staying indoors,” Chambers said. “It’s nice to be able to socialize to some extent.”

Throughout the rest of Linn County, John Neal Memorial County Park is open but not allowing group camping at this time. Likewise for Whitcomb Bridge Park. 

Cascadia State Park is closed until the county receives clearance from the state to reopen. 

According to the Army Corps of Engineers, overnight camping is not currently permitted at Andrew S. Wiley Park near Foster Reservoir, nor at Billings Park near Green Peter Reservoir. 

Benton County

The lone campground under the jurisdiction of Benton County Parks, Salmonberry Campground, will remain closed until after May 26 and will not be open for Memorial Day. The county has not set an opening day yet, but is hoping to open around June 5, said Laurie Starha, director of parks and natural areas. 

“If everything goes according to plan, June 5 would be the target date if approved by the state of Oregon,” Starha said. “That’s kind of a moving target at this point.”

Alsea Falls Campground, which is overseen by the Bureau of Land Management, is also closed for camping. 

Siuslaw National Forest

Nearly 40 developed campgrounds lie to the west of Corvallis, and many have reopened to varying degrees. On its website, the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service has provided a comprehensive Recreation Conditions Report which lists all open sites as of May 22.

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