MADRAS, Ore. - The city of Madras touted this week that it "lies in the center of the path of solar eclipse totality and will experience 2.02 minutes of darkness on Monday August 21st," as it noted a variety of camping options available in the area.
Here's the rest of the city's news release with the details:
For people still wanting to experience the total solar eclipse from Central Oregon, there are plenty of camping spots available!
"There's truly something for everyone," said Lysa Vattimo, who is helping the city of Madras plan for this colossal event. "We currently have an inventory of about 10,000 camp spots available through privately-run campgrounds that are offering everything from RV spots to all-inclusive luxury ‘glamping.’
"In addition, there are several ‘Daytripper’ parking lots where visitors can park their vehicles any time after 10:00 PM the Sunday prior and stay overnight until the big event unfolds the next day.”
The Daytripper parking lots will close at 5:00 pm on Monday, but all are located in great viewing locations and are equipped with portable restrooms.
Daytripper parking lots will help alleviate congestion on roadways as traffic experts are warning visitors that highways into Madras and Central Oregon will be so heavily congested that they should plan on arriving in Madras the night before if they want to be sure to see this spectacular event safely.
“The last thing we want is for visitors to be stopping their vehicles on the sides of the highways or roadways - not only is it unsafe for drivers, but heated vehicles can cause wildfires if people park on dry grassy edges of roadways,” according to Peter Murphy of the Oregon Department of Transportation. More information on campsites and Daytripper Parking lots can be found at www.MadrasEclipse.com.
"Being that the eclipse occurs during peak wildfire season, we are appreciative of our private sector for creating safe, organized campgrounds for the multitude of visitors we are expecting during the eclipse weekend. Keeping campers in these areas versus out on wildland areas makes it safer for everyone," stated Jefferson County Fire Chief Brian Huff.
In addition, staying in these organized campgrounds makes responding to medical emergencies or police matters quicker and easier should someone call for assistance.
For several years, astronomers and scientists have been planning their trips to Madras and nearby areas of Central Oregon due to the high elevations, open skies and historically clear atmospheric conditions.
Lowell Observatory out of Flagstaff, Arizona will be partnering with the Science Channel at Madras High School - “We specifically chose Madras because it is one of the premier locations in the United Sates to view the Great American Solar Eclipse. When exploring locations, Madras welcomed our team and we found an ideal viewing site on the High School Football Field,” stated Sonja Gonzalez, event coordinator.
In addition to a multitude of outdoor recreational opportunities, there are festivals, artisan markets, and an open-air church service scheduled over the weekend in Madras. City, county, and state officials have been meeting regularly with local businesses for over a year planning for this spectacular celestial event. “We are excited to share our beautiful area with the world and we hope they’ll return in the future to enjoy all that the Central Oregon area has to offer,” stated Chamber Director Joe Krenowicz.
The eclipse begins at 9:06 am on Monday, August 21st, with totality beginning at 10:19 am. Totality will last
for 2.02 minutes.