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

Camping visits up in Detroit

Reporter for The Canyon Weekly

Public use of state parks continues to rebound from the pandemic, a new state report shows, with camping visits at Detroit Lake State Recreation Area approaching pre-COVID levels.

Overall, Oregon State Parks experienced its second busiest camping and day-use year in history in 2022.

Visitors logged 2.97 million camper nights, just 1.8 percent less than the record-breaking 2021 total. A total of 52 million day-use visits were recorded, down just 2.7 percent from the 2021 record.

At Detroit Lake, camping visits hit 93,100, the park’s best showing since a 96,466 figure in 2019. In addition to the pandemic, Detroit-area recreation sites also struggled amid the recovery efforts from the 2020 Labor Day wildfires.

Detroit had 158,064 day-use visits in 2022, down significantly from 204,404 in 2021. That 2022 number, however, marks a healthy increase from 2020, the peak of the pandemic-fire impact, when just 149,016 visited the recreation area.

North Santiam State Recreation Area in Lyons, which transitioned last year to operations by Marion County, received essentially no visitors or camping use in 2021 and 2022 because of the fires. The park has now resumed operations for picnicking, camping and boat launching.

Detroit Lake and North Santiam are grouped in the valley region of Oregon State Parks. The valley area showed the healthiest increases in usage, with a 7.78 percent increase in camping and a 4 percent increase in day use. The coastal and mountain regions either showed declines or were felt.

Coastal facilities, however, turned in the best camping totals, led by Fort Stevens (318,740), South Beach (215,768), Nehalem Bay (194,829), Jessie M. Honeyman (179,306) and Beverly Beach (170,673).

Two parks surpassed 2 million visitors, Yaquina Bay (2,383,854) and the Valley of the Rogue (2,149,928). Silver Falls State Park was among the seven sites at more than 1 million with a total of 1,338,696.

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