Between 300 and 500 temporary camping sites will be created in Prineville for visitors descending on the area for the total solar eclipse Aug. 21.
Duane Garner, executive director of the Crook County Parks & Recreation District, said his organization will be inviting campers to stay at both Crooked River Park and Rimrock Park. Sites will be first come, first served, he said, and the district will charge $30 for tent campers and $50 for RV campers, with no RV hookups available.
Last week, Salem leaders announced they would not enforce the ban against camping in city parks on Aug. 20, the night before the eclipse. Officials said they expect some eclipse watchers will try to stake out a spot in the park the night before regardless of the ban, and described their hands-off approach as a crowd-management tool.
Garner said the Crook County Parks & Recreation District is taking a similar view. Camping will remain prohibited in most parks, he said, but the temporary campgrounds will provide a place to direct people who come to the area with no firm plans on where to stay.
He said planning for the eclipse has been “kind of overwhelming” for the small parks district.
“We haven’t ever experienced anything like this,” Garner said. “We’re just trying to plan for the worst, and hoping that doesn’t happen.”
In the Madras area, Juniper Hills Park on the east edge of town has been turned into a temporary campground, with RV and tent sites being set up by Jefferson County Little League.
Little League president Jennifer Holcomb said her group is leasing the park from Jefferson County for the days surrounding the eclipse. She said all of the RV sites have been booked, and fewer than 50 tent sites remain. Holcomb said her group is taking online reservations for the remaining tent sites, as well as for day-use viewing sites, consisting of a place to park and set out some lawn chairs for the event.
Within Madras itself, the city’s largest park, Sahalee Park, will be filled with eclipse-related activities through the weekend leading up to the event, according to Sarah Puddy, administrative manager for the city.
Puddy said the activity at Sahalee Park should deter anyone from trying to set up a tent. The city’s camping ban will remain in effect at its other smaller parks, she said, but enforcement of the ban will not be a high priority.
“We’ll take it as it comes, but as a general rule, that wouldn’t be allowed,” she said.
Bend and Redmond
Meanwhile, the park districts in Bend and Redmond plan to hold firm to their prohibition against camping in parks.
Hayes McCoy, chairman of the Redmond Area Park & Recreation District, said his board considered but declined to open Redmond parks to camping. He said of the sites managed by RAPRD, only the High Desert Sports Complex seems likely to attract illegal campers, and the district’s maintenance department will be on guard to ask any would-be campers to move on.
Bend will be outside the path of totality, the area in which the moon will completely cover the sun on the morning of Aug. 21. The Bend Park & Recreation District will not allow camping at any of its park sites.
— Reporter: 541-383-0387, email@example.com