State Parks plans 38-acre Smith Rock expansion

$285K purchase on Prineville meeting agenda

PRINEVILLE, Ore. - The Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission will consider a $285,000 purchase of 38 undeveloped acres to expand Smith Rock State Park at their June 11-12 meeting in Prineville.

According to an issue summary from state Right of Way Agent Alice Beals, an adjacent property owner contacted the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department in 2017 to inquire of interest in acquiring the family's 38-acre property abutting the southeast boundary of the park, a popular climbing area known around the world.

The "McFarlane property," bisected by the Crooked River, was identified as a "property of interest" in the 1990 Smith Rock master plan, Beals wrote.

The acquisition would incorporate the popular North Gorge climbing area into the park system, as well as protect the scenic beauty of another 1,000-foot section of the Crooked River, she added.

The land on both sides of the river are accessed by hikers, rock climbers and kayakers, but there are no vehicle access rights to the property. 

On Tuesday, June 11, commissioners will tour Prineville Reservoir State Park and surrounding areas. The group will then conduct a training and work session 12:15 – 4 p.m. at the Crook County Library, 1475 NE 3rd St., Prineville.

On Wednesday, June 12, the commission will convene an executive session 8:15 – 10:15 a.m. at the library to discuss real estate and legal issues. Executive sessions are closed to the public. A business meeting will begin at 10:15 a.m. and will be open to the public.

Other notable topics on the business meeting agenda:

  • Approve acquisition of the Gleason Park property in John Day, adjacent to Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site. For OPRD, the acquisition would be in concert with the park’s 2009 Master Plan. The land’s value is still under appraisal; the final value will be presented to commissioners at the meeting.
  • Approve acquisition of a small 3.23 acre private land parcel adjacent to Iwetemlaykin State Heritage Site, near Joseph. The property was flagged in the park’s 2009 Master Plan and its acquisition would ensure the conservation of cultural and natural resources associated with the park. The land’s value is still under appraisal; the final value will be presented to commissioners at the meeting.
  • Approve $629,824 in ATV recreation grant recommendations from the All-Terrain Vehicle Grant Subcommittee. Grants would go to trail and facilities development, emergency medical services, equipment operation and maintenance, and ATV recreation planning.
  • Open administrative rulemaking to update rules relating to the Oregon Natural Areas Program.

The full draft agenda and meeting packet are on the commission website:

People who plan to present oral testimony are asked to provide 15 copies of their statement to Denise Warburton, commission assistant, at

Individuals needing special accommodations to attend should also contact Warburton by email, or call 503-986-0719, at least three days in advance.

The Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission promotes outdoor recreation and heritage by establishing policies, adopting rules, and setting the budget for OPRD. The seven members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Oregon Senate. They serve four-year terms and meet several times a year at locations across the state.

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