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Idle Oregon Parcel Eyed for Tent Campground

September 14, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

A patch of brush could be transformed into the newest campground in Oregon’s Coos County, if a citizen-led proposal gains traction.

Dean Warner, a spokesman for the Concerned Citizens of Lakeside, is proposing that 10 acres of federal land near South Eel Creek be turned into a park or campground, the Coos Bay World reported.

The plan has gained conditional support from the Lakeside City Council. The council is writing a letter to Congressman Peter DeFazio to request grant money for sewer connections and other set-up costs.

The land is overgrown but Warner believes the site, once cleared, can make a fantastic tourist spot for as many as 50 tent sites.

“I had been by it many, many times, but I didn’t know it was there,” he said. ‘I just thought it was a brush thicket, but it’s an absolutely beautiful piece of land.”

Although the site has no parking lot, it would be suitable for bicycles. Nearby water and sewer lines could lower set-up costs, he said.

Councilor Mack Eubanks, who has seen the property, gave his thumbs-up to the proposal at a council meeting last week.

“What makes this piece of property so special for a park or whatever, is that Eel Creek goes right around it,” he said.

City Administrator Charlie Hill said Warner’s proposal is the second time Lakeside has considered using the site, owned by the U.S. Forest Service.

In 1993 the city was going to ask the U.S. Forest Service if it could manage the land but backed away after realized the city would need insurance in case a camper drowned.

Insurance costs and negotiating control of the land are still hurdles, Hill said.

In addition, while Warner’s group is proposing a nightly rate of $5 or less to compete with the county’s seven existing bicycle campgrounds, Hill said that might not cover the water and sewer costs.

Any plan would also require the cooperation of the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians, which has a burial ground nearby.

Warner said those issues could be overcome.

“Anything you do has problems, and that’s why God gave us a brain, to solve problems and not let them become obstacles,” he said.

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