Beginning July 1st, 2015 Douglas County will begin charging a fee to park at most county parks.
The fee will be $4.00 per vehicle per day or $30.00 for a calendar year annual pass good for all parks except Mildred Kanipe Memorial Park.
Payment boxes will be installed near the entrance to most parks.
Why are parking fees necessary?
To operate and maintain Douglas County’s 52 parks requires a budget of nearly $2,000,000.
Eighty percent of this budget is funded with revenues currently generated in the parks (camping fees, pavilion, rentals, etc.) as well as numerous grants.
The remaining twenty percent of the budget comes from the County general fund. Due primarily to the drastic decrease in receipts from O&C timberlands,
the County’s general fund reserves are declining each year. No property tax revenues are allocated to County Parks. This situation has resulted in
the need for the Parks Department to become self-sufficient.
In recent years the Parks Department has reduced staff, decreased expenses and closed some small outlying parks and waysides in an attempt to balance the
parks department budget. It is apparent at this point in order to maintain our parks in their current condition additional revenue is needed.
In addition our parks have a significant amount of deferred repairs and maintenance that needs to be accomplished to keep them safe and operable.
Much of the parks infrastructure was built in the 1960’s and 1970’s and is either past its useful life or in need of significant upgrades or repair.
Examples are the bathrooms at River Forks Park and Windy Cove, the pavilion roofs at Amacher and Stanton Parks and the deteriorating Crab Dock at Winchester Bay.
Who made the decision to initiate parking fees?
The Douglas County Parks Advisory Board recommended in March, 2014 to support parking fees at some county parks and voted in March 2015 in favor of fees at all parks.
A hearing was held before the Board of Commissioners on December 10, 2014 to amend the County Parks Ordinance to allow parking fees and the ordinance was adopted
by the Board of Commissioners on March 11, 2015.
Where does parking fee revenue go?
All fees collected will go to the Parks Department. No parking fee revenues will be used to supplement the county general fund. Parking fees will be used for the daily
operation and maintenance costs of parks as well as needed repairs and parks capital improvement projects.
What else is being done to support our parks?
In order to satisfy the increasing demand for local recreational space and facilities, the Douglas County Parks Department is using funds from the sale of
surplus parks property, timber sales from selected parks and grants to finance new campgrounds. By the end of 2015 new campgrounds will be open at
Whistler’s Bend and Mildred Kanipe parks.
In 2015 the Parks Department in cooperation with the Douglas County Planning Department will revise the outdated Douglas County Parks Master Plan.
The new plan will reflect the changing nature of outdoor recreation in Douglas County and allow for more flexibility in the types of facilities that
will be allowed in our parks.
The Parks Department will continue to use volunteers extensively; our parks could not operate without the wonderful assistance of our community.
As of this posting the Parks Department has 14 full time employees and 28 full time volunteers.
Currently additional volunteer groups are giving their time and resources toward building an inclusive playground at River Forks, adding
nine new holes to the beautiful disc golf course at Whistler’s Bend, constructing corrals for the new equestrian campground at Mildred Kanipe,
repairing the docks at Gardiner, clearing brush at the Happy Valley boat ramp and raising money to restore Mildred Kanipe’s home.
For additional information please call the Douglas County Parks Department at (541) 957-7001 or visit our Facebook page.