Happy 100th birthday to Oregon State Parks

Three state parks near Florence are (1) Darlingtonia State Natural Site home of the Darlingtonia californica or cobra lily, a carnivorous plant; (2) Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint, a beach north of Florence, near the infamous “Preacher’s Cave;” and (3) Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park, a campground adjacent to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Park, fish and camp for free at these locations on State Parks Day, June 4. (Courtesy photos)

Celebrate with State Parks Day and Free Fishing Weekend June 4-5

May 31, 2022 — A hundred years ago, state parks were barely an idea in Oregon, little more than patches of roadside greenery. A 5-acre donation in 1922 — setting aside a special place for everyone — became Oregon’s first official state park. Today, the state park system comprises 254 park properties and more than 100,000 acres.

Oregon State Parks invites visitors to join in celebrating the places Oregonians hold dear: the viewpoints, the waterfalls, the trails, and the historic landmarks.

2022 will be the year to reflect on the past 100 years and look to the future we all work together to preserve this legacy for the next generation.

To celebrate the state’s most beautiful places, Oregon State Parks and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) are offering free activities and services for free.

First, park and camp for free on State Parks Day, Saturday June 4. Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) will waive day-use parking fees at the 26 locations that charge them and waive camping fees for all tent, RV and horse campsites. A map of those 26 locations can be found here stateparks.oregon.gov/index.cfm?do=visit.day-use.

State Parks Day has been a tradition since 1998 as a way to thank Oregonians for their support of the state park system over many decades.

The same weekend is ODFW’s Free Fishing Weekend.

Fishing is free in Oregon the first weekend in June on Saturday and Sunday, June 4-5. Everyone can fish, clam and crab for free in Oregon those two days.

No fishing/shellfish licenses or tags (including a Combined Angling Tag or Columbia River Basin Endorsement or Two-Rod Validation) are required those two days for either Oregon residents or nonresidents.

Currently, crabbing is open coastwide in bays, beaches, estuaries, tide pools, piers and jetties along the entire Oregon coast and in the ocean.

All other fishing regulations apply including closures, bag limits and size restrictions. See the Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations for rules and remember to check for any in season regulation changes, especially for salmon and steelhead fishing, at myodfw.com/recreation-report/fishing-report/.

Several special events and service projects are planned June 4 and 5 to celebrate State Parks Day, Free Fishing Weekend and the Oregon State Parks centennial.

State Parks Day Activities — June 4

Florence: Celebrate both State Parks Day and National Trails Day at Jessie M. Honeyman State Park. Work alongside park staff and help trim back the areas along the Woahink Lake Trail. Come spend the day volunteering along a former CCC trail.

The event will run from 10 am to 12 pm. Participants should be prepared to travel up to ½ mile on uneven ground and trails to the service site. Service will take place outdoors, and volunteers should be comfortable wearing work gloves and using hand tools.

Registration for this event closes on June 1.

Port Orford: Cape Blanco State Park and the Cape Blanco Heritage Society will host a celebration of the state parks centennial and the 150th anniversary of the Cape Blanco Lighthouse. The event, scheduled at the lighthouse grounds, will feature live music, raffles, a lighthouse diorama presentation, food by the Rotary Club of Port Orford and a Coast Guard flyover at 2 p.m.

Monmouth: A free community birthday party is scheduled 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Oregon’s first state park, Sarah Helmick State Recreation Site. The event will feature a dedication, interactive demonstrations and exhibits, a classic car show, giveaways and birthday cake while supplies last.

Medford: At Valley of the Rogue State Park, visitors are invited to watch two professional wood carvers create new sculptures they will donate to the park. They will be working 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 4 and 5 at the Valley of the Rogue rest area.  

St. Paul: Champoeg State Heritage Area will host a living history event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors will experience an authentic fur trappers’ encampment that hearkens back to the early 1800’s when fur trappers and their families camped along the Willamette River at this location.

Free Fishing Weekend Events — June 4-5

Not only is fishing free in Oregon the weekend of June 4-5, ODFW and partners will bring all the gear you need to try it, too!

With state COVID restrictions lifted, traditional Family Fishing events are back this year to coincide with Free Fishing Weekend the first weekend in June. At these events, ODFW staff, volunteers and partners provide all the fishing equipment (reels, rods, tackle, bait) and help teach new anglers how to rig their line, cast a rod, land a fish and identify their catch in ponds specially stocked for the weekend.

June 4

Florence: Cleawox Lake, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will be utilizing an ODFW trailer in the sand dunes parking area. Florence’s Salmon and Trout Enhancement Program (STEP) will be handing out rods and reels and tackle to kids and assisting them as necessary to help them catch some trout to take home for dinner. Volunteers will clean and bag any fish that are caught and there is no charge for the kids to participate in this event which will be both June 4 and June 5.

Florence STEP needs volunteers for this activity.

“We cannot handle this event properly unless we have enough volunteers,” said Terry Barrett, President of Florence STEP. “Your assistance with these projects is greatly appreciated.”

Those interested should contact Barrett at [email protected].

Eugene: Alton Baker Canoe Canal, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Toledo/Newport: Ollala Lake, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Directions: 9 miles northeast of Newport. From Newport, take Highway 20 east for approximately six miles, then head north on Olalla Road for about three miles.

Estacada: Small Fry Lake, Promontory Park, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Directions: 7 miles east of Estacada on Highway 224.

Hebo Lake: 9 am. to 2 p.m. Directions: Take Hwy 101 to Hwy 22 at Hebo. Travel 1/4 mile east on Hwy 22 to Forest Service Rd. 14. Travel east 4.5 miles on Forest Service Rd. 14 to the entrance of the Hebo Lake Campground.

Forest Grove/Washington County: Henry Hagg Lake, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Directions: From Hwy 47 south of Dilley near Forest Grove, follow Scoggins Valley Rd. about 3 miles to the lake.

Silverton Reservoir: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is no on-site parking at this event. Free shuttles will run every half hour 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Roth’s Market, Robert Frost School, Library, Church of the Nazarene in Silverton.

June 5

Forest Grove/Washington County: Henry Hagg Lake, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Directions: From Hwy 47 south of Dilley near Forest Grove, follow Scoggins Valley Rd. about 3 miles to the lake.

Klamath Falls/Medford: Lake of the Woods, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Directions: Lake of the Woods is located off of State Rte. 140 mid-way between Medford and Klamath Falls.  

For more information on State Parks Day or Free Fishing Weekend, go to stateparks.oregon.gov/ or www.dfw.state.or.us/.