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Dear Oregon State Park Trust Supporters,

We hope this letter finds you well, enjoying the start of the holiday season. Oregon’s state parks give us much to be grateful for – beaches, trails, waterfalls, historic and cultural icons, 361 state parks in all and, most especially, the wonderful memories associated with visiting them. We are proud that some of the nation’s most beloved parks are here in Oregon.

Our leadership is committed to making Oregon State Parks Trust – the only statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing Oregon’s state parks – a model organization in carrying out its important mission. 2011 has been a productive year for the Trust. Here are some highlights:

  • Completed Phase I of the “Fort Yamhill: Connecting Place and People” campaign, which raised over $230,000 to restore and rebuild key elements of this important historical and cultural site. If you haven’t seen the restored mid-1850s Officer’s Quarters building, it’s worth the trip!
  • Supported Let’s Go Camping by outfitting first-time campers with kingdom tents thanks to our friends at REI. This popular program introduces families to camping and outdoor recreation.
  • Selected by the Harvard Business School Association of Oregon to participate in its Community Partners program. From April through June, a pro-bono alumni-consulting team worked closely with our trustees to develop strategic priorities.
  • Secured critical funding by diversifying revenue sources through partnerships with NW Natural’s Smart Energy program, The North Face, and EarthShare of Oregon.
  • Increased awareness through social media. You can now “like us” on Facebook!
  • Moved to a new home in the heart of downtown Portland. Special thanks to Tonkon Torp, LLP for our new office space, and to David Evans & Associates for hosting us during the past five years.

In the year ahead, the Trust will continue its work to support the iconic state parks we treasure, funding projects that would not otherwise happen due to budget constraints within Oregon Parks & Recreation Department (ORPD). Projects under consideration include:

  • Cottonwood Canyon. This 16-mile stretch along the John Day River will become Oregon’s newest state park. OPRD recently completed an award- winning master plan for this site. In the months ahead, the Trust will begin planning a capital campaign to fund a visitor center and other special features of the park.
  • Fort Yamhill State Heritage Area. Planning will begin for Phase II of this campaign. The goal is to develop Ft. Yamhill into Oregon’s first “archaeological state park.” Future elements include a new interpretive center in what was once the original Sutler’s Store, installation of “ghost structures” at former building sites, reconstruction of the fort’s imposing blockhouse, ongoing archeological investigations, opportunities for public archeology and trails that will enhance the interpretive experience.
  • Let’s Go Camping. The Trust will continue to secure funding for staffing, training staff and volunteers, and the gear that is needed for the program. As a result, Let’s Go Camping will be able to be offered to more people and in more parks.
  • Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site. Preserving the legacy of the Chinese workforce in Oregon, this museum contains artifacts and displays that share some of the trials of everyday life of these individuals. Phase I of this campaign involved a $1.5 million restoration project that included repairing the building exterior and replacing damaged interior features with historically appropriate materials. Planning will begin for Phase II, which will involve repurposing an historic home – that of the nephew of renowned herbal doctor Ing Hay – as an interpretive center.

As wonderful as Oregon’s state parks are, there is never enough funding to undertake the level of projects needed to maintain this important legacy or continue to offer exceptional experiences to the public. We need your help to ensure that our state parks are maintained, improved and expanded for present and future generations.

Please show your support of Oregon’s magnificent state parks by making your donation today. You can give online at or by phone (503.802.5750).

On behalf of Oregon State Parks Trust’s board of trustees and our partners at Oregon Parks & Recreation Department, we thank you for considering this vital request. Please feel free to contact us with questions, concerns or ideas.

With gratitude,

Bennett Burns
Bennett Burns, Board Chair

Bennett Burns
Kristen Stram, Board Chair

P.S. Please make a note of our new contact information:

Oregon State Parks Trust
888 S.W. Fifth Ave, Suite 1600 Portland, Oregon 97204-2099

Featured Park: Cottonwood State Park – A Jewel of Nature in Eastern Oregon

Cottonwood State ParkProgress on Oregon’s newest state park continues toward its planned opening in 2013. The final draft of the Cottonwood State Park plan was submitted to the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission in July. The park, located along some seven miles of the John Day River in Eastern Oregon will be a spectacular addition to the state’s wonderful parks. It will include a variety of opportunities for camping, hiking, nature study, and enjoying the river. Watch for more information as the opening date approaches.

Click here for some great photos from the park:

Featured Event: Join the Whale Watching Spoken Here volunteers

Whale WatchingIf you are interested in a new and different volunteering experience this winter or spring, consider this: Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department is gearing up for whale watching on the Oregon Coast, and needs your help. They need volunteers to help visitors see and learn about migrating Gray whales.

Register for one of these training sessions:

Volunteers need to attend at least one training session. Listen to great speakers, and take home a whale watching reference manual and a waterproof field guide “Marine Mammals of the North Pacific.” The registration is free if you pre-register and volunteer at least two days during a watch week. Winter Watch Week is Dec. 26-31 and Spring Watch Week is March 24-31, 2012.

See the Call for Volunteers training agenda and registration packet for more information.

Click on the following links for more information on the Whale Watching Spoken Here volunteers and the Whale Watching Center.

Fall & Winter Camping. Do it for less $$ during Discovery Season, Oct. 1 – April 30!

Fall and Winter CampingDiscovery Season rewards spontaneity. It is a seven-month span when you can react to an unseasonably warm and dry weather forecast, or notice the sun shining through your window, and take off on a camping trip without a reservation. Besides the cost savings, you have better chances to see wildlife, more elbow room on beaches and trails, and chances to stay in one of those primo campsites that always seem to be occupied by somebody else during the summer.

October 1 to April 30, you’ll find state park campsites much easier to come by, and lower rates to boot. Rates at regular campsites – tent, electric and full-hookup – drop by $4 a night. Deluxe yurts and cabins drop by $20 a night. The lower rates apply at 28 year-round campgrounds and at seasonal parks (check website for opening and closing dates).

Check into a heated cabin or yurt and cast weather worries aside (remember ... new deluxe cabins are open at Cape Lookout, Prineville Reservoir and Fort Stevens). You can snag a mid-week yurt or cabin with much less advance notice than you’d expect. So don’t wait for the weekend or even summer ... just go!

If you want to make sure you have the campsite of your choice on a particular weekend, you can still reserve it during Discovery Season, either online ( or by calling Reservations Northwest at 1-800-452-5687. Reservations for yurt and cabin weekend dates are recommended at any time of year.

Annual events during Discovery Season also make good reasons to go. Evening programs and special hikes, such as the mushroom hikes at Fort Stevens, continue well into the fall. From Thanksgiving through Dec. 31, the spectacular holiday lights show in the gardens of Shore Acres State Park make camping trips to the south coast campgrounds worth considering. Don’t miss the winter whale watch week along the coast from Dec. 26-Jan. 1, and the annual February Eagle Watch event at The Cove Palisades State Park.

Get a New View: Check Out the Oregon State Park Web Cams

Web Cams

Rate Parks and Get the Inside Scoop at™!

Rate a Park

Do you want to share your experiences about your favorite Oregon State Park? Rate a Park, share a picture, let others know about your favorite trails, pet accommodations, great wildlife in the area, and other details of your journeys. Also, see what others have to say about parks on your list to visit. Facebook, Yelp, Twitter, You Tube, park activity information and more all in one place!

To rate an Oregon state park click here.

Find out which Oregon state parks has the highest ParkVisitor™ score here!

GEICO RV Safety Tips


In order to stay safe on the road make sure to take precautions before you even begin your trip.

Realize your size. Many road mishaps occur because of an RV's additional size and weight. For instance, operators accidentally drive under an overpass without enough clearance because they forget about the additional height. Know your RV's height and keep it handy. Also know the clearances of the bridges and tunnels along your route - especially on back roads. A road atlas specifically for RVers or semi drivers can help.

Maintenance is important. An RV that's mechanically sound will be less apt to break down. Be meticulous about maintenance. Make a pre-trip checklist and do an inspection every time you get behind the wheel. Utilize these safety tips to ensure the proper maintenance of your RV:

Have a plan if you do break down. Carry your cell phone and know the emergency numbers to call. Also leave your itinerary with relatives or friends in case of emergency.

Adjust for weather. Heavy winds, rain, fog, and ice make RV driving treacherous. If possible, plan your trip to avoid bad weather or factor in extra time so you can delay travel if necessary.

Always wear safety belts. Passengers should be belted in also. Laws don't require RV's to have safety belts in all areas where passengers can sit, but it is better to be safe so buckle up!

Most common causes of RV accidents include:

For more RV safety information visit Geico.

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