Parks open County makes changes

October, 2017 Posted in Community, Nature

Marion County has opened its seasonal parks for the summer recreation season. Most parks, including Bear Creek Park and Campground, open May 1 and remain open through Oct. 30. North Fork and Salmon Falls parks will open June 1. Parks and public works staff have worked through the off-season to prepare for the opening, with special attention along the North Fork corridor.

The Little North Fork Santiam River and North Fork Road corridor have grown in popularity, resulting in overcrowding on sunny days, plus increased motor vehicle accidents, river safety concerns, litter, habitat degradation and trespassing onto private property. The county has made changes along North Fork Road designed to improve safety and capacity.

New signs are being installed along Highway 22, North Fork Road and at park entrances. Public works has widened roadside gravel turnouts in several  locations to make it easier for cars to park off the roadway. There is new and expanded parking at North Fork Park and Salmon Falls Park.

Two emergency phones are operational in areas where cell phone coverage is unreliable. One is at the entrance to Salmon Falls Park. The other is at the Elkhorn Valley Fire Station. Both phones connect directly to 9-1-1.

The county has instituted a $5 daily parking fee for parking on the side of North Fork Road and in county parks accessed from North Fork Road, including North Fork Park, Salmon Falls Park, Bear Creek Park day use and Lomker’s Bridge day use. Fee stations along North Fork Road. Fees can be paid by cash or check. A $30 annual pass allows unlimited daily parking for one vehicle along North Fork Road and in Marion County North Fork corridor parks. Annual passes can be purchased at any fee station or at Marion County Public Works, Building 1, 5155 Silverton Road NE, Salem.

Bear Creek Park opens May 1. A 15-acre campground, the park also provides day use access to the Little North Fork Santiam River. It has 15 first-come, first-served camp sites and costs $14 per night. Sites have a picnic table, fire pit and accommodate one vehicle. A $5 fee applies to each additional vehicle. Check-in is 4 p.m. Check out is 1 p.m. The day use portion is open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

North Fork and Salmon Falls Parks open June 1. Work is underway to repair damage from winter storms. Both parks provide access to the Little North Fork Santiam River, have restrooms and picnic facilities, and are open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

For information including amenities, visit  www.co.marion.or.us/PW/Parks or call 503-588-5036.

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