Linn County to manage 400 more camping sites

A project several years in the making came to fruition Jan. 9 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.

In other business, the commissioners:

  • Received the annual audit by Pauly Rogers and Company CPAs, which noted that Accounting Officer Bill Palmer and staff did an excellent job.
  • Were informed by Palmer that although the fiscal year is halfway through, county spending is only at about 33%, not 50%. He said departments and offices are showing positive fiscal restraint.
  • Were informed by Treasurer Michelle Hawkins that due to favorable investment rates, county funds are earning significant interest, but, she said, long-term those rates will go down.
  • Approved a refund of $1,027 to Michael Windom from the Linn County Planning and Building Department.

Media contact: Alex Paul, Linn County Communications Officer, 5451-967-3825 or email [email protected].