New State Park Campground Opens in Washington County


stubFor anyone who’s interested in camping but doesn’t want to go too far from civilization (i.e. Portland), we have the opening of a new campground.

State and local officials are ready to celebrate the grand opening of Oregon’s first new state park campground in more than 30 years. Stub Stewart State Park, in western Washington County, will officially open on Sunday July 8, 2007.

Now, ridiculous name aside, this is really cool news for anyone who’s looking for something new in the camping department around here. The quoted bits here come from what I can only assume is a press release (I got it via email from a friend, so I have no idea what the source was), and I don’t know how busy the new site was its opening weekend. Sadly, last weekend was kind of crappy weather-wise, but I guess if you don’t go camping in iffy weather in Oregon, you don’t go camping much. Anyway, here’s the rest of the press release after the jump.

“This is momentous,” says Tim Wood, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Director. “Stub Stewart represents an unprecedented combination of hard work, unique land deals and community support.”

The 1,654 acre park was created on timber land formerly owned by the Longview Fibre Company. A series of land exchanges between the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Oregon Department of Forestry, Washington County, Oregon Military Department, Oregon Department of State Lands and the Oregon Department of Transportation made the park possible.

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The park includes:

  • 15 miles of park trails for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking through meadows and forests teeming with wildlife and native plants. Park trails connect to the 21-mile Banks-Vernonia trail, which links the communities of Banks, Buxton, Manning, Tophill and Vernonia.
  • Stub Stewart Welcome Center, including registration check-in window for campers and an interpretive display area.
  • Brooke Creek hike-in camp with 23 primitive sites, restrooms, a kitchen shelter and two common areas with fire rings. Rental is $6/night Oct-Apr, and $9/night May-Sept.
  • Dairy Creek Camp West camp loop, with 43 full-hookup (water, sewer, electric) RV sites and 12 walk-in tent sites. RV sites rent for $18/night Oct-Apr, and $22/night May-Sept; tent sites are $13/night Oct-Apr, and $18/night May-Sept. A second camp loop with 35 more RV sites will open in early 2008.
  • Mountain Dale Cabin Village with 15 rustic-style cabins (12, 1-room; 3, 2-room). Rustic cabins have lights, furnishings and heat, but campers bring their own bedding and cook outside the cabins. Rental is $39/night year-round.
  • Hilltop Day-use Area offering a stunning panoramic view of the Coast range mountains with parking for 35 cars and 10-15 RVs, modern restrooms and a trailhead for the park’s trail system. Day-visitors to the park pay $3 a day, or purchase a 12-month pass-good for all 26 state parks that charge a day-use fee-for $25 (a 24-month pass sells for $40).
  • Clay Hill equestrian staging and day-use area, with a restroom, water and extra room for trailer parking.
  • Hares Canyon Horse Camp, with 14 full hookup campsites, each with four-stall corrals ($18/night Oct-Apr, $22/night May-Sept), and two double-size full hookup sites with six-stall corrals ($31/night Oct-Apr, $40/night May-Sept). This is the only state park horse camp with RV hookup sites and a fully-accessible shower-restroom.

Many of the state park campgrounds and trails near Portland-Milo McIver near Estacada, Ainsworth in the Columbia Gorge, Champoeg in the Willamette Valley-are extremely busy in the summer. When Stub Stewart opens, the number of state park campsites within 35 miles of Portland will increase more than 40%.

“Stub Stewart adds the kind of camping and trails we need to serve Oregon’s most populated region,” says Wood. “Parks are important to the relaxed Oregon way of life and our economy, and Stub Stewart is within easy reach of millions of Oregonians.”

Most of the funding for park construction-$14.5 million-came from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department’s share of the Oregon Lottery. Voters dedicated lottery funding to state parks in 1998 to help pay for maintenance, park development and local community recreation through grants. Stub Stewart construction was also supported with more than $2 million in federal money from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Volunteers helped build key features such as the horse and hike-in camps. The park includes many accessible features-such as ramps and wheelchair-accessible picnic tables-designed to make the park easy to use.

Campers eager to visit Stub Stewart may now call 1-800-452-5687, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-7 p.m. to make campsite and cabin reservations for stays starting August 16 and later. Reservations are also available online at www.oregonstateparks.org. The park’s campsites and cabins will be available on a first-come, first-served basis from July 8 to August 16.

The park will host its first event even before the official opening. Cycle Oregon will spend part of a day in the park on June 24 during its annual weekend ride. Registration for the weekend ride is still open; contact Cycle Oregon at www.cycleoregon.com, or call 800-292-5367 for registration information.

Portions of the park will open on a limited basis between now and July 8 as construction crews complete their work and leave the park. Visitors can receive updates on the status of the park-and download maps and other information-online at http://www.oregonstateparks.org/park_255.php. Up-to-date information on the park is also available through the park information line at 1-800-551-6949, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors who would like to see the park before the July 8 opening should call or check online first to find out if entry will be possible.