Re: New Nehalem Park Meeting
Do we need a park in the Lost Creek Area?
There are a lot of parks in the area already. Nehalem Falls is only a couple miles away, and it's run by the state (ODF). The county has one at Roy Creek. There's Spruce Run farther up the Nehalem along Foss Road. There are a ton of good sites up along Cook Creek, especially at Piatt Canyon where there are fire pits allowing fires even during most fire closures. There is nearly unlimited free dispersed camping available on state land throughout in the area -- you don't have hookups and be aware that outside of designated areas you can't have fires in most places during regulated use (fire danger -- look for big orange signs on the roads).
Lost Creek provides some important wintering habitat for elk and deer that use Lost Creek dainage. It's especially critical for elk. They stay down in the creek bottoms all winter long due to having poor quality winter forage thanks to all the rain and can't afford to expend a lot of energy (info source ODFW). Past experiences indicate the elk will either avoid the people and the park and the forage they need and die, or become a problem and ODFW will be pressured into issuing emergency tags to keep them out (read kill them).
The state park will allow some fishing in the Nehalem River -- for a day use fee. Despite comments in posts claiming a lot of fishing activity, there's not a lot of good bank fishing along the east bank in that particular stretch anyway. The Foss road side has much better access. With one exception the area within the proposed park is not the best of places. Most people actually bank fish off Anderson Creek road down below Cook Creek and not just because of the no trespassing signs where the park will be. It has better access.
After 17 years of patrolling that area as part of fire protection and talking to countless people, I've learned that the majority of the people camping in thurnouts and such along Foss Road aren't interested in paying to camp anyway. A park will do nothing with that issue.
I don't have a problem with camping in my backyard. It goes on every day. Camping is free and you can do it year around in the state forest. Just be nice to people, be respectful of the forest, follow the common sense laws, and pack out your trash.
I don't think a state park buys us much of anything in Lost Creek, other than adding some RV hookups and losing a ton of critical wintering habitat. If RV hookups are that important, they could be situated along Foss Road at the old CCC camp where the ODF fire guard station used to be. That actually provides good river access and wouldn't take away habitat, has a paved road, has power, is just up the river, and it belongs to the state.
"Every man has to believe in something - I believe I'll go Fishing" - Henry David Thoreau...