State parks throughout Oregon are laying out the welcome mat Saturday, June 2 in celebration of State Parks Day.
Camping is free the night of June 2 in traditional sites full hookup (sewer, electricity and water), electrical hookup (electricity and water) and tent sites. Parking at the 26 day-use-fee parks also will be free June 2.
"Free camping and parking is our chance to say 'thank you' to our visitors," said Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) Director Tim Wood. "State Parks Day has become a special tradition both for Oregonians and for park staff." Wood noted that June 2 is also National Trails Day. "Oregon has hundreds of miles of trails, for all levels of ability, and it doesn't matter if you are in a state park or on a backwoods goat path--get outside and enjoy your trails."
In a proclamation issued May 21, Governor Kitzhaber encouraged all Oregonians to observe State Parks Day. The Oregon State Legislature established Oregon State Parks Day in 1997 to focus public attention on the heritage, use, development and funding of Oregon's state park system. The event is held the first Saturday in June.
Events across the state run the gamut from guided hikes and tours to special barbecues and guest appearances by J.R. Beaver, Oregon's State Park mascot.
Milo McIver State Park, near Estacada, plays host to a special, day-long event in partnership with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. The day begins with a ceremonial canoe haul out, with members of the Tribe being welcomed ashore by Chairwoman Cheryle Kennedy. Events take place starting at 10 a.m. at the lower boat ramp in the Riverbend day use area.
Silver Falls State Park near Salem is home to a 5K Footrace and Youth Development Run starting at 10 a.m. Champoeg State Heritage Area, near Newberg, will offer ranger-led tours of Champoeg historic sites, plus a Junior Ranger program for kids that includes wildlife art lessons.
LL "Stub" Stewart State Park, 31 miles west of Portland, has a varied and busy agenda. Bike rides, a disc golf tournament, special activities with trail partners REI and the Northwest Trails Alliance, group horseback riding and mountain bike activities will keep families and friends on the go all day long.
For a complete list of state park day events all over the state, go to www.oregonstateparks.org and click on "park events."
Campsite reservations may be made by calling Reservations Northwest 1-800-452-5687 before 5 p.m. May 31. Or, reserve online at www.oregonstateparks.org. Approximately half of Oregon's 53 state park campgrounds take reservations.