(Douglas County, Ore.) Douglas County Commissioner Chris Boice along with Douglas County Parks Director Mark Wall hosted an on-site inspection and tour of Douglas County’s grant-assisted projects in Winchester Bay on Wednesday, August 16, 2023. In attendance were staff from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department – Grants and Community Programs Division (OPRD), Oregon ATV Advisory Committee, ATV Highway Access Committee, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO), Oregon State Police – Fish and Wildlife Division, and United States Forest Service – Central Coast Ranger District & Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.
“What the group saw on the tour was a culmination of the vision of the Douglas County Board of Commissioners, a key partnership with the State who assists us in funding our projects, the vital feedback from the advisory committees, the execution of the vision by our Parks Director Mark Wall, and our hard-working team of Parks Department staff who are on the ground day in and day out making our facilities destination-worthy,” stated Commissioner Chris Boice.
The tour was an opportunity for Douglas County to showcase several coastal assets and allow OPRD and stakeholders to inspect a selection of projects that have been supported in-part by OPRD grant dollars. Wednesday’s tour featured the Dan Van Slyke OHV Staging Area, DCSO’s ATV Shed, Douglas County Parks Coastal Maintenance Shop, Half Moon Bay Campground and the newly developed Umpqua Dunes RV Park and Commercial Building (Winchester Beach Plaza) leased by Fitz Bailey. The group also toured grant-funded projects in Coos County on Tuesday.
Douglas County has been fortunate to have received more than $8.6 million dollars in OPRD grants to help fund ongoing improvement projects among the County’s coastal assets since 2006. The grants were matched with County funds and have been utilized for land acquisition and development, planning, equipment purchases, overall parks operations and maintenance, as well as law enforcement. In addition to the facilities on the tour, Douglas County’s grant-assisted projects include Windy Cove A & B Campgrounds, Windy Cove County Park Crab & Fishing Dock, Sand Camp, Triangle Road Campground, and improving the grounds at the Umpqua River Lighthouse.
OPRD’s Grants and Community Programs Manager Michele Scalise stated, “Douglas County is one of our biggest recipients of grant funds. It is rare to find an agency with as many eligible projects that match the criteria to qualify for ATV grants from within our recreation programs. We have a good partnership with Douglas County and it’s great to have so many good things going on here.”
OPRD administers five Recreation Grant Programs with more than $13 million in funding awarded to Oregon communities to support recreation on public lands. Those include the All-Terrain (ATV) Vehicle Grant, County Opportunity Grant, Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant Program, Local Government Grant Program, and Recreational Trails Program. For more information about OPRD’s grant programs, click here.
"I was very impressed to see the improvements at Umpqua Dunes RV Park. I recall watching the grant presentation and the campground really lived up to the original proposal,” commented ATV Program Coordinator Ian Caldwell. “Any campground nearly full mid-week is a testament to its popularly. I really liked how the store turned out. This is a great example of putting the ATV riding community's funding back on the ground to directly benefit the riders. The partnership between Douglas County and Oregon State Parks is creating a real gem on the Oregon Coast."
As a part of the grant review process, ATV Grant applications are reviewed by the ATV Advisory Committees, who are tasked with making recommendations to the OPRD Commission regarding off-highway vehicle classifications, safety requirements and safety features in all classes to protect riders.
“As the Chair of both the ATV Advisory Committee and the ATV Grant Subcommittee, it was great to do a site visit to several locations on the Oregon Coast, including Douglas County,” stated House District #2 Representative Virgle Osborne. “OHV money from the State has been utilized to fund projects as directed by the Douglas County Commissioners and has brought a lot of new opportunities to Winchester Bay. This area is being used heavily by ATV riders from all over the northwest and the RV parks are looking really good. We are spending money in the right spots up and down the Oregon Coast and making real progress with tourism opportunities in Douglas County.”
For more information about Douglas County Parks or to Discover Winchester Bay visit douglascountyor.gov/802/Parks and facebook.com/DiscoverWinchesterBay.
“Our goal is to continue to enhance the user experience in all of our facilities and recreational opportunities, with a maximum benefit to both the local folks and for those traveling to our stretch of the Coast,” commented Parks Director Mark Wall. “Whether we are acquiring land for a new development or renovating older County Parks, we have found the State to be a vital partner. We’ve got the vision, they help us with the funding, and the whole coastal community benefits.”