State Parks officials this week gave Lincoln County Commissioners an update on the state’s progress at making improvements to the Ona Beach State Park area. “Area” is the key word in that added facilities related to camping, trails, outdoor education and day use will focus on the upland areas above Ona Beach and above the Beaver Creek Natural area. They won’t be intruding on either area’s near-pristine situation.
Parks officials said a two year series of public meetings created a consensus of all stakeholders and the public that the beach area should be left alone in its natural state as well as the Beaver Creek Natural Area, except for long overdue repairs to the Ona Beach State Park parking lot and adding some restrooms. As for other improvements, they want to add facilities for cabin camping and the like and other low impact camping well away from those sensitive areas.
Officials said that the new Ona Beach/Beaver Creek master plan foresees the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) abandoning it’s maintenance yard at the top of Huckleberry Hill just to the south, and having that area transformed into a parks visitors center complete with camping and many trails fanning out from there. To get visitors from the visitors center to the beach will require a pedestrian tunnel being built under Highway 101 for direct access to the west side of 101.
The parks officials said the plan is in its final stages of being completed. They said they don’t expect any immediate changes due to funding constraints. They said that any and all improvements, including better coordinated trail routes, improved kayak launching and nature observation areas will require money – money that is currently not in their hands.
So for now, the plan is nearly in place and the hunt is on to find the funds to make it all happen.