November public meeting dates and materials

We’ll be answering more questions and presenting some draft ideas for the park. As soon as the materials are available, we’ll post them online so you can comment here, but do try to attend a meeting as well if you can:

  • Monday Nov. 15 – Moro – 6 pm – Sherman County Public/School Library
  • Tuesday Nov. 16 – Condon – 6 pm- Veterans Memorial Hall
  • Monday Nov. 22 – Portland – 6 pm- Tryon Creek State Natural Area

Meeting materials …

The documents below represent our first, early ideas for the park based on what you’ve told us and the results of a bucketload of on-the-ground inspections. These ideas reflect what the fully-evolved park would look like in the decades after opening in 2013. Tell us what you think.

The planner’s presentation (includes many of the individual maps below, plus a description of the process).

Overall park plan. The red lines are trails, some for horses (mainly on the Gilliam County side and accessed from the JS Burres parking area). Most of the trails are just re-used existing jeep roads, though some are new.

Areas suitable for development based on plant communities.

Park opportunities, showing generally where recreation and natural resources take turns being the lead priority.

Plant restoration focus areas. We have some work to do to defeat weeds and bring back native plants.

Initial ideas for the west entrance, near the current Murtha Ranch right off Hwy 206. This is where most of the formal park development would be. Keep the large, red barn as a meeting area, add a small Welcome Center,  picnic area, trailhead, and including a basic 35-site campground (by design, the sites can be used by either tents or RVs, but here are no RV utilities), plus cabins, a small group camp and a walk-in camp. Riparian restoration to bring back riverside plants. One thing you don’t see on the map is a small horse camp across the river and next to the J.S. Burres parking lot. There would be a trailhead there for equestrians, hikers and bicyclists.

Esau Canyon. Trail connections, riparian restoration, small hike-in and boat-in camps.

Hay Creek. Trail connections, riparian restoration including return of the hardwood forest, small horse camp, group tent camp, hike-in camp.

All of these ideas have to work hand-in-hand with habitat restoration and respect the rugged nature of the landscape (and the rules that cover state scenic waterways and federal wild and scenic designations).

So, what do you think?

8 thoughts on “November public meeting dates and materials

  1. I pray they include equestrians in the plan!!! That is a beautiful area and have been privileged to ride in it by invitation only. What a “big, open space” for all to share and still hear the quiet and view the wildlife!!!
    It would be so wonderful to be able to haul up there and not have to haul back on the same day. It would be a real gift to be able to have overnight facilities for equestrians!!
    There are any number of equestrian organizations that would jump in and help lay it out and build it in a nano second! Please, please, just ask us to help and include us in the master plan.
    Faye and four hoofed friends, Tag and Sherman

    1. Thanks for the comment. Equestrians are represented on our planning advisory committee. Our job is to provide a balanced recreational experience that suits the landscape and serves many different kinds of recreation, so we’re listening to as broad a group as we can. More info for you to review will be posted around the time of the meeting next week.

  2. All of these ideas are great. I hope that some of the buildings and other parts of the ranch can be kept in tact to show the history of the property. I have lots of great memories helping ranch cattle on the property when my family owned the ranch. I can’t wait to see it when all of these potential plans are complete. With regards to the equestrian part of the plan, we did most of the ranching on horseback. Lots of great places to ride on the property. I think only one time when I was out there did we use 4-wheelers. I will be curious to see how the Hay Creek part is developed. It takes awhile to get from the road to the actual ranch house on that end of the property if they are going to develop near he house and barn on that end. Maybe you can get a discounted rate if your last name is Murtha? 😉

    1. Yes, the landscape architects are hard at working drafting ideas that preserve and re-use iconic buildings like the big barn at the main entrance off Hwy 206. For the few structures we may add there at the homestead, the designers are taking their lead from the region’s style. Your last sentence made me smile.

    2. Andy
      I am sorry to be the one to inform you that the ranch house & buildings at Hay Creek have been destroyed. I was there in May 2010 on a work party & was unhappy to see the buildings had been destroyed.

      Mel Schmidt

      1. The buildings at Hay Creek fell into disrepair after they stopped being used, and would not have contributed to the park visitor’s experience. We think the memories and stories of the people who lived here are the important thing, which is why we’re working hard to bring that kind of character to life in the way the park is designed and operated. Good example: the great red barn at the Murtha Ranch will be incorporated into the park plan. When the draft park plan is released for comment in April, you can, in fact, expect to see two things: a) re-use of as many buildings as possible, and b) for the new buildings, an architectural style directly inspired by the best Central Oregon traditions. We couldn’t save everything, but we did what we could. The interpretive/educational programming will make sure the memories of the people who lived here endure.

  3. I’m very excited to see the changes that are being made. My grandma grew up on this land and talks fondly of it. I along with the rest of our family are anxious to see what happens.

  4. I think Andy was referring to the ranch house and barn near the mouth of Hay Creek. They disappeared sometime between November 2009 and October 2010, along with all the old ranch vehicles and equipment that was along Hay Creek. I’ve always been curious and wondered about the history of the homesite near the top of one of the draws, south of Hay Creek?

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