News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Marion County sets dates to announce parks plan

Reporter for The Canyon Weekly

Marion County parks officials and its consultants are closing in on a plan to restore and upgrade seven county parks that were damaged in the 2020 wildfires. 

The county’s parks commission discussed the plan at its July 21 meeting. Walker Macy, a landscape architecture firm based in Portland, has been working with the county on the plan and will unveil a final draft at the commission’s Sept. 15 meeting. 

If the parks commission, a 9-person volunteer panel that advises the Board of Commissioners on parks issues, signs off on the plan, a date would then be set to present the plan to the board at a work session.

Also at the July 21 meeting the parks commission approved a new policy on naming parks properties. The policy, like the restoration plan, must be approved by the 3-person Board of Commissioners. No suggestions have been made to rename parks. The purpose of the naming initiative was to have a procedure in place for the future.

County parks officials, Walker Macy and the parks commission have been working since early this year on plans to restore and upgrade the seven county parks in the Santiam Canyon that were damaged in the fires. 

The facilities are North Santiam, Packsaddle, Niagara and Minto along Highway 22 and North Fork, Bear Creek and Salmon Falls in the North Fork/Elkhorn area.

Only North Santiam and Packsaddle are open to the public. No timetable is set for completion of the restoration and upgrade work, but county officials say it is years if not a decade away.

No overall budget has been determined for the project. County officials have indicated that FEMA wildfire relief funds are the most likely source for project funds.

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