(Story contributions from The Albany Democrat Herald)
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will no longer allow camping outside of established campgrounds along Quartzville Road with enforcement plans that include patrols and the posting of “no camping” signs along the corridor.
Although there will be a grace period focused on education, trespassing citations will be issued to repeat violators, according to Corps of Engineers spokesman Scott Clemans. This may meet with some friction as more than 500,000 visitors visit the Foster and Green Peter area annually.
A massive influx of campers each year can become problematic as there is a general lack of hygiene, damage to natural resources, and general lawlessness (theft and other crimes) has led the Corps to commission the Linn County Parks and Recreation Department to develop a Green Peter Reservoir Recreation Plan.
“By shifting camping activity to designated recreation areas, we will improve the quality and safety of recreation at Green Peter Reservoir,” said Tami Schroeder, Willamette Valley Projects park manager.
Patrols and Enforcement will be implemented as soon as the ACE is finished posting signs, but will start in earnest when the weather warms and camping season begins in earnest.
Brian Carroll, Linn County Parks Director, said the county has received a $63,700 grant from the Oregon Parks Department to conduct engineering and survey projects on Whitcomb Creek Park/Trout Creek area.
“We haven’t made changes to our parks yet, but we have some designs done,” Carroll said. “The good news is that we are in the process of doing what we need to do to supply more camping up there.”
Whitcomb Creek Park currently has about 39 sites. Depending on the engineering and survey results that could be expanded to as many as 120 sites.
People should consider the U.S. Forest Service campgrounds that border the South Santiam River near Cascadia, according to Carroll. They are rustic, but provide outstanding water views and are managed by the Linn County Parks Department. The county has also purchased the Edgewater RV and Marina at Foster, which adds some 49 camping spaces.
“And, people should remember Cascadia State Park is nearby,” Carroll said.
Popular River Bend Campground is also at Cascadia, although usually full on weekends so weekday warriors should consider Monday through friday prime camp time during these hot months.