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Disclosure Dampens RV Park Development Proposal

October 10, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

Map shows the proximity of Floras Lake (dark gray area at right) to the Oregon coast

Oregon’s Curry County commissioners are back to the drawing board with a plan to swap land with the state for a recreational vehicle park and golf course after a letter from the director of the state Parks and Recreation Department put a damper on the idea, The Register-Guard, Eugene, reported.

The commissioners were mulling a “world-class” golf course, RV park and visitor’s center on what is now a nearly undeveloped piece of property at the 1,750-acre Floras Lake State Natural Area, a quiet spot guarded jealously by residents of the southern Oregon Coast.

At a state parks meeting in Bandon in July, the county board’s chairman, George Rhodes, drew jeers from a packed house after offering few specifics about the county’s proposal. Even without much detail, though, Tim Wood, state parks director, responded to the general idea in a letter he sent Rhodes on Sept. 23.

Wood explained that trading or selling state park land can only happen if it results in an “overwhelming public benefit to state parks,” which he said is an “extremely high bar.”

“Floras Lake State Natural Area is a unique and wondrous treasure,” Wood continued, adding, “It is my personal opinion, and I believe the feeling of many of the commissioners — all of whom have walked on the trails, observed the unique plant life, and taken in the coastal scenery — that the value of this property of the state park system is irreplaceable.”

Thus, even though the county never submitted a formal proposal, Wood said, “I sincerely believe that there is no proposal for sale or trade of this property that would meet the standard established for such transactions.”

Rhodes said this week he was disappointed that Wood decided to make that letter public.

“I was somewhat surprised he sent it out to the press, considering it was his personal opinion,” Rhodes said.

Nonetheless, he seemed resigned to the outcome; that a land swap was a highly unlikely possibility at Floras Lake.

Still, Rhodes said, he and the board will consider options for developing the 600 acres the county owns adjacent to the state parks parcel.

“We plan to create a citizens committee to make a recommendation to the board as to which direction we should go in,” Rhodes said. “We still have some options to do some things with that property. I’m not going to rule out anything.”

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