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Oregon State Parks annual parking permits on sale in December - 11/28/16

Give the gift of the great outdoors this holiday season with an annual Oregon State Parks day-use parking permit. From Dec. 1-31, visitors and holiday shoppers can buy them for only $25--that's $5 off the regular price of $30. Purchasing these passes is easy--buy them online at https://store.oregonstateparks.org, along with branded holiday gift gear, such as portable coolers, water bottles and baseball caps.

Parking costs $5 a day at 26 Oregon State Parks unless you have a 12- or 24-month parking permit or a same-day camping receipt. The 24-month pass is $50. The permits are transferable from vehicle to vehicle.

"Our December sale is the only time we discount the annual parking permit," said Lisa Sumption, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) Director. "These make a great gift. Your family and friends will thank you for a year of unlimited playing, hiking and picnicking."

The Oregon Coast Passport is also discounted $5 in December. The passport is a multi-agency product, valid at Oregon State Parks, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service sites along the Oregon coast. The coastal passports are on sale for $30--regularly $35--in December.

The OPRD parking permits and Oregon Coast Passport can be purchased at major Oregon State Parks offices, some state park friends' group stores and local businesses throughout the state. For a complete list of vendors, visit http://oregonstateparks.org.

First time members of the nonprofit Oregon State Parks Foundation (http://www.oregonstateparksfoundation.org/membership/) receive a free 12-month permit at the $45 membership level or above.

Visitors are the single largest source of funding for Oregon's state parks. Revenue from RV registrations and the Oregon Lottery, dedicated by voters in 1998 and 2010, make up the rest.

Oregon Historic Trails Advisory Council releases new website and mobile app for Barlow Road - 11/23/16

For the past two years, Dr. Erica Risberg, working with the Oregon Historic Trails Advisory Council (OHTAC), has developed an educational and tourist project about the Barlow Road with funding from the Oregon Community Foundation's Historic Trails Fund. Dr. Erica Risberg, Historian and President of Shared Context Consultants, LLC, headed the project with the assistance of members of the Oregon-California Trails Association and its Northwest Chapter plus members of the OHTAC.

The funds were used to develop the website, www.oregontrail-barlowroad.org, which lists ten sites along the Barlow Road. The website was designed to help educators teach 4th and 5th grade students learn more about the Barlow Road. It has panoramic views of the sites, as well as historical photos when accessible, contextual descriptions of each site, and diary excerpts that were recorded by voiceover talents to engage the students more when learning about each site.

Subsequent funds were used to make some of the material accessible through a mobile application: Next Exit History (www.nextexithistory.com). The purpose of using the application is to make the material accessible to tourists. They can access the material while they have wifi service, and the information will be downloaded on their mobile device. Once the application has been downloaded, go to "Backpacks" and search for Barlow Road and download it. While traveling along the Barlow Road, there won't be much wifi service, but since the material has been downloaded onto the device, it can be accessed. The downloads are counted, so there is a method of tracking built in that can be used to garner support for future funds from Travel Oregon or other organizations that support cultural heritage tourism.

About Erica Risberg and Shared Context Consultants, LLC:
Dr. Risberg has over twenty-eight years of experience working in historical research for government agencies and private enterprise. Her experience includes cultural analysis, technical documentation, coordination and management of cross-agency interdisciplinary studies. Her company, Shared Context Consultants, LLC is a women-owned business that specializes in conducting research and working with local museums and agencies to develop methods to engage people with history. She has worked on several research projects with History Associates, Inc. and assisted the Museum of History and Industry (Seattle) and the Maine State Museum with developing content for exhibits.

Salmonberry Trail meeting set Dec. 2 in Tillamook - 11/18/16

Tillamook OR - The Salmonberry Trail Intergovernmental Agency (STIA) will meet in Tillamook on Dec. 2, 2016, to discuss issues related to ownership and management of the proposed 84-mile Salmonberry Trail corridor that will connect the cities of Tillamook and Banks. The meeting will be from 10 a.m. to 1p.m. at The Officer's Mess Hall at the Port of Tillamook Bay, 6825 Officer's Row, Tillamook.

The agenda includes an update on fundraising efforts, status of a proposed railbanking agreement, a report from the Coastal Advisory Committee on the coastal planning study effort and discussion concerning insurance needs of the STIA .

The Salmonberry Trail will connect eight cities and two counties, passing by the Oregon coastline, fisheries, farmland and the rugged Oregon Coast Range. The route follows the Port of Tillamook Bay Railway, which closed in 2007 after massive storm damage. The Salmonberry Trail Intergovernmental Agency was established to promote and facilitate coordinated direction and guidance in the planning, development and maintenance of the multi-use trail.

For more information, contact Dennis Wiley, Salmonberry Trail project manager, at 503-986-0723 or dennis.wiley@oregon.gov.

Pear Blossom Festival designated an Oregon Heritage Tradition - 11/17/16

Medford's Pear Blossom Festival, an all-volunteer run community event, marks its upcoming 64th year with an Oregon Heritage Tradition designation by the Oregon Heritage Commission.

Other Oregon Heritage Traditions include the Oregon State Fair, the Pendleton Round-Up, the Klamath Basin Potato Festival, and the Portland Greek Festival.

"The designation recognizes those traditions that have helped define the state," said Eric Martin, the commission's chair. "This event truly celebrates what is local heritage in Oregon."

The Pear Blossom Festival started in 1954 when the Medford Chamber of Commerce and other local organizations decided to hold a children's parade in celebration of the agricultural bounty of Southern Oregon. Marking each spring when pear trees come into blossom, the event has grown over the years to include food and wine tastings, pageants, a street fair, golf tournament, mini-marathon, bike race, and one of Oregon's largest parades.

Tens of thousands of Southern Oregon locals take part in the three-week long festivities held in the heart of downtown Medford. As the city's oldest tradition, the Pear Blossom Festival celebrates the rich agricultural roots of its community and our state.

"The festival Board of Directors is very honored to receive this distinguished award," said Pear Blossom Association President Darcey Mann-Self. "We would like to thank the City of Medford, our generous Sponsors, and our Volunteers for keeping Medford's oldest tradition alive, since 1954!"

An Oregon Heritage Tradition must have been in continuous operation for more than 50 years, demonstrate a public profile and reputation that distinguishes it from more routine events, and add to the livability and identity of the state. A list of Tradition designations is available at http://www.oregon.gov/oprd/HCD/OHC/pages/oht.aspx .

The Oregon Heritage Commission coordinates efforts to solve statewide heritage issues through grants, education, and advocacy, and also promotes heritage tourism efforts. ###

State Park camping reservations for 2017 eclipse booked in record time, some sites still available just outside the path - 11/17/16

News Release // Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept. // FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE // November 17, 2016

Media Contact: Chris Havel, Director's Office, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department // Desk: 503-986-0722 // Cell: 503-931-2590

State Park camping reservations for 2017 eclipse booked in record time, some sites still available just outside the path

Salem OR -- Campers snapped up reservations to camp in Oregon State Parks along the path of the August 21, 2017 total eclipse in about an hour starting shortly after midnight today. Some state parks just outside the path of totality still have sites available, though they are expected to fill eventually.

To make a reservation, visitors can go to oregonstateparks.org, navigate to a park, and click the "Reserve Online" button. Parks just outside the path of totality (http://bit.ly/OregonStateParkEclipseMap) will experience a partial eclipse. Travel on August 21, 2017 will be challenging and congestion is expected to be significant.

Information about the eclipse experience in Oregon State Parks is online at http://bit.ly/OregonStateParks2017Eclipse. As of 11 a.m. today, reservable sites in the zone of a partial eclipse are available at these parks:

Nehalem Bay State Park, Tillamook County
Cape Lookout State Park, Tillamook County
Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park, Lane County

L.L. Stub Stewart Memorial State Park, Washington County
Deschutes River State Recreation Area, Sherman County
Memaloose State Park, Wasco County
Viento State Park, Hood River County

Lake Owyhee State Park, Malheur County
Wallowa Lake State Park, Wallowa County

This park list is also on http://bit.ly/OregonStateParks2017Eclipse and will be updated through the day. State park staff are working on plans to open some first-come/first-served parks and other areas to reservations just for this event, and will issue a news release and message on social media such as https://www.facebook.com/pages/Oregon-Parks-and-Recreation-Department/ when the plans are final.

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Parking fee waived for 'Green Friday' at Oregon State Parks - 11/15/16

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) invites the public to visit state parks for free on Nov. 25. For the second successive year, the department will wave day-use parking fees at the 26 state parks the charge them.

"We invite you to join a new tradition: Green Friday," said OPRD Director Lisa Sumption. "Why not skip the mall, and instead come out to play with your family and friends at your favorite state park?"

To help celebrate, the nonprofit Oregon State Parks Foundation is hosting special events at L.L Stub Stewart State Park, Tryon Creek State Natural Area, Champoeg State Heritage Area and Silver Falls State Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Hot drinks and snacks will be available, and visitors will be able to deposit entry forms for drawings to win prizes from Columbia Sportswear, Keen Footwear, REI and Leatherman Tools. Entry forms are obtained by registering at www.oregonstateparksfoundation.org. Completed forms must be brought to one of the four participating parks from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. that day. KINK-FM radio will host a special promotional appearance by Music Director Jared from noon to 2 p.m. at Champoeg.

Parking is free year-round at almost all state parks; the waiver applies to the 26 parks that charge $5 daily for parking. The waiver applies from open to close on Nov. 25, except at Shore Acres State Park, where it expires at 3 p.m. for the Holiday Lights event that runs Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve. A list of parks that require day-use parking permits is at http://bit.ly/OregonStateParksParking.

Visit the Oregon State Parks website for directions to each park: www.oregonstateparks.org.

Expect construction delays on access road to Neah-Kah-Nie Mountain Trail - 11/14/16

Manzanita OR--The access road to the south trailhead of the Neah-Kah-Nie Mountain Trail, a popular hiking trail at the south end of Oswald West State Park, will be closed periodically for construction until Nov. 23. A contractor will remove potholes, improve drainage and increase traction along the first 400-foot section at the west end of Neahkahnie Trailhead Road.

This is the first of three phases that will ultimately improve the entire length of the short, gravel road, ending at the trailhead parking area. Mike Critelli Excavation of Garibaldi will complete the first phase for about $5,000.

Oregon State Park launches holiday gifts online (Photo) - 11/10/16

UPDATE: Product photos added

Impossible holiday shopping list? Looking to avoid the crowds at the mall? If so, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) invites you to check out its new line of gift gear, designed to add style and function to any outdoor adventure. Check out http://bit.ly/OregonStateParksStore or go to oregonstateparks.org, and click on "shop" at the top.

But shoppers need to act quickly. Merchandise is on sale now, and supplies are limited. Purchases can be made only through the Oregon State Parks' store, or by calling 1-800-551-6949. Free shipping is included with all items.

"We are excited to announce our first line of products featuring the state park shield," said OPRD Director Lisa Sumption. "The shield represents all state parks, and it's a symbol that Oregonians take pride in. It's one of the most recognized and happiest symbols in Oregon."

An interesting, even eclectic, selection of gift gear awaits shoppers. Browse for essentials like baseball caps, water bottles, portable coolers, a pocket knife, a picnic blanket and even a set of telescoping skewers for toasting marshmallows. Stocking stuffer items include a collapsible solar lantern, a portable pet food bowl, reusable eating utensils and a full color Oregon State Park shield key chain that doubles as a dog tag.

For the kids, the state park mascot J.R. Beaver is featured on several items: a hat, a lightweight stainless steel water bottle, a colorful cinch sack and a special polar fleece hoodie that is too cute to be believed.

Feel a need to fling something? OPRD has created a signature set of three discs that show the location of OPRD's nine courses throughout the state. The discs come with a special carrying satchel that holds up to six discs and a water bottle.

The Gift Gear campaign will rotate new items onto the website as they become available.

"This is an experiment," Sumption said. "We want to get a feel for what our visitors like, and what kind of demand exists for parks-branded items."