Curry County Considers Floras Lake Land Swap

The fate of county-owned lands bordering Curry County’s Floras Lake has been periodically at issue for decades, as county commissioners and businesspeople have contemplated development schemes for this natural area.  Oregon Shores has opposed each proposal, and local conservationists have organized very effectively to beat back such schemes time and again.

Since these lands are adjacent to the Floras Lake State Natural Area, the idea of a land swap has been floated—an exchange in which these lands could be traded to State Parks for state-owned land of less value for natural habitat and recreation, protecting Floras Lake and its trail system for the public while providing the county with potentially revenue-producing acreage at a more appropriate site.  Last September, spurred in part by a presentation by the Kalmiopsis Audubon Society, the Curry County Board of Commissioners directed county staff to investigate a possible land swap.

The idea now appears to be on the verge of coming to fruition.  On Wednesday, Aug. 8, the Curry commissioners will held a workshop to consider a land swap proposal that is actually on the table.  State Parks has proposed to swap 32.6 acres that it owns on Hwy 101, directly across from Pacific High School, in exchange for 70 acres of the county's Floras Lake property, the westernmost portion, directly adjacent to Floras Lake State Natural Area.  Local conservationists consider this to be a desirable exchange.  The parkland on the highway is second-growth forest, and thus of less significance as habitat.  Given its accessibility, it could be used for a variety of public purposes.

The staff report about this proposal, which includes maps, can be seen at the county website:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1ltvn0zbe1rmzEJEfJOITqsDUIYaJTkjq?usp=sharing. 

No decision was made at this workshop, but the commissioners will hopefully move forward.  While there isn't an official public comment period underway, those wishing to contact commsioners can do so by phone at (541) 247-3296 / (800) 243-1996 (be prepared to leave a voicemail).  To e-mail individual commissioners:

Sue Gold <[email protected]>

Thomas Huxley <[email protected]>

Court Boice <[email protected]>