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

Linn County to manage camp sites

ALBANY —A project several years in the making came to fruition Tuesday morning, when Linn County Commissioners Roger Nyquist, Sherrie Sprenger and Will Tucker approved an Operating Licensing Agreement that will allow the Linn County Parks & Recreation Department to manage 400 more camping sites owned by the U.S. Forest Service.

Linn County has already managed seven Forest Service campgrounds in the Cascadia area east of Sweet Home for 12 years.

The county will now manage almost 1,000 camping spurs. 

Parks Director Stacey Whaley said Linn County won the five-year contract in competition with three other bidders. 

The new campsites are in both Linn and Marion counties. Whaley’s staff will now work on campsites from as far south as Olallie on the Linn-Lane county line south of Clear Lake to as far north as Breitenbush, north of Detroit in Marion County. 

Most of the new campsites are basic, although Cove Creek on Detroit Reservoir has a boat ramp and coin-operated showers. Hoover and Southshore campgrounds also have boat ramps. 

In a written report, Whaley noted that the average income from the parks over the last three years was $771,059. The campgrounds in the Breitenbush corridor have been closed due to the Labor Day 2020 fires. 

Linn County will pay a 7% fee to the Forest Service, but that will be mitigated by in-kind maintenance and improvement work in lieu of payments when appropriate. 

Linn County Parks will need to add staff, vehicles and other equipment the first year of operation, Whaley noted, so a profit is not projected. But, she said, the project will provide income to the Parks & Recreation Department, which does not receive General Fund support. 

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