Oregon Unveils 2nd Largest State Park Today

September 25, 2013 by   - () Comments Off on Oregon Unveils 2nd Largest State Park Today

A bold approach to running a land conservation trust pays dividends this week when Oregon dedicates the state’s second largest state park, located on the lower John Day River.

As reported by The Oregonian, Cottonwood Canyon State Park encompasses 8,000 acres, from the river bottom up 1,250-foot canyon walls to wheat fields and wind turbines on the rim. The desert park in Sherman and Gilliam counties will have its dedication ceremonies and events from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today (Sept. 25), before opening for business Saturday.

The park is a two-hour drive east of Portland, first east to Biggs on Interstate 84 and then southeast on Oregon 206 to the river between the farm towns of Wasco and Condon. The park is at the only bridge in a 110-mile segment of the river.

State parks’ application to manage adjacent federal lands for recreation could, in effect, double the size of the park in the future, making it bigger than Oregon’s largest, 9,064-acre Silver Falls State Park.

Land for the new park was purchased by Western Rivers Conservancy, a nonprofit organization founded in 1988 and headquartered in Portland under its current name since 2001. The land that became the park was bought from the cattle ranching Murtha  family, which held it since the 1930s.

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