Final Round of Hearings on New State Park Announced

Sand Lake shoreline in new Sitka Sedge State Park. Photo by Jim Hauge.
Sand Lake shoreline in new Sitka Sedge State Park. Photo by Jim Hauge.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is closing in on a master plan for the coast’s newest state park. A third and final set of public hearings on the draft master plan for Sitka Sedge State Park, at Sand Lake north of Pacific City, is coming up in May. Oregon Shores, represented by board member Allison Asbjornsen, has been participating on the advisory committee.

On the coast, the final public hearing will take place on Thursday, May 5, 6-8 p.m. at the Kiawanda Community Center, 34600 Cape Kiwanda Drive, Pacific City. Earlier that day, the advisory committee will meet 1-4 p.m., also at the Kiawanda Community Center. Members of the public are welcome to sit in on the advisory committee session, although public comments must be held for the evening meeting.

For those inland, a second public hearing will be held on Tuesday, May 10, 6-8 p.m. at the Wilsonville Library, 8200 SW Wilsonville Road, Wilsonville.

At these hearings, the advisory committee and members of the public will get a final opportunity to help steer the plan for the new park. OPRD staff intend to present the plan to the Parks and Recreation Commission in the fall.

Any citizen can track the planning effort and contribute comments by going to the website set up by State Parks for this purpose, http://beltzplan.com/. The site enables visitors to post notes directly onto a map of the site, and to take two related surveys.

Background: One of Oregon Shores’ proudest moments came on the day last year when State Parks completed purchase of the “Beltz Farm” property which occupies the spit enclosing the Sand Lake estuary just north of Tierra del Mar. Our only role in the acquisition of the land for the public was to advocate for it. However, a decade earlier the property might have been turned into a golf resort, destroying its natural character, if Oregon Shores hadn’t effectively blocked the development plan. We stood vigilantly on guard to preserve the property from inappropriate development ever since, and our vigilance finally paid off. We have been tracking the planning process for the new park, and while there are some significant issues to be resolved, in general the plan is to manage it as a natural area with minimal development, which had been our goal all along.

For more information, to comment if you are unable to attend the hearings, or to be placed on the distribution list for future notification, contact Ben Hedstrom of State Parks at (503) 986-0745, [email protected]. Contact him by mail through the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, 725 Summer St., N.E., Suite C, Salem, OR 97301.

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