Improvements are planned for the Crook County RV Park, including tree removal, water, sewer, and power repairs, road paving, and ADA upgrades

by: JASON CHANEY - Tree removal efforts are already under way at the Crook County RV Park.

Right now, Crook County RV Park is averaging about 15 to 20 patrons in its 81-space facility.

County and Parks and Recreation leaders therefore felt it was the best time to get started on a large-scale renovation project that includes a variety of upgrades.

They have started with tree removal. Work has already begun to remove 66 Oss willows from the park that have overrun the overnight campground. The trees were planted in 1993, when the park was built, to provide shade during the hot summer days.

“They were originally planted because they are an extremely fast-growing tree,” said Duane Garner, Parks Supervisor for the Crook County Parks and Recreation District (CCPRD). “The idea was to get some shade in there as quick as possible. It worked a little too well.”

Crook County Commissioner Ken Fahlgren noted that, as the trees have grown, their root structure has begun to break up the asphalt roads inside the park and damage the water, sewer, and electrical infrastructure underneath.

To fix these problems, the county, which owns the facility, and parks district that manages it, worked together to secure funding. Garner and County Road Master Penny Keller wrote a grant requesting $400,000 to remove trees, repair the road, replace the water, sewer, and power infrastructure, and make ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) upgrades.

“A big part of this is ADA changes that need to be made, both in the bathrooms area and access to the small cabins,” Fahlgren said, “and there needed to be better spots for parking for trailers and people who need wheelchair accessibility.”

So far, grant funding approval is not official, but appears promising. The project needs to be forwarded to the State Historic Preservation Office for review and then forwarded to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Commission for review and approval.

Meanwhile, work has begun on tree removal.

“We are staying open during all of this process,” Garner said.

“So far, patrons have been very accommodating, moving their rigs around so the work can be done,” said Richard Bonine, CCPRD director. “They were notified in advance that this work was coming. Nobody was too surprised.”

The tree removal will not only benefit the park and its patrons. Project leaders plan to give away the estimated 60 cord of wood to citizens free of charge.

“We came up with a plan to help it go back to the public,” Fahlgren explained. “People will fill out a release form at the Parks and Recreation District building. Then you will be given a combination to the lock and go down and let yourself in to where the wood is. You can take all you want. The only stipulation is we will not allow you to bring equipment on site.”

They will give the wood away, beginning next week, on a first come first serve basis until it is gone. Chipped wood will also be available free of charge.

Once the removal concludes, about 15 trees will remain, with plans to plant new trees more suitable for the park going forward.

Assuming everything goes as planned with the grant application process, they will later turn their attention to water, sewer, and power infrastructure.

“We will have to shut down once we get to the more major infrastructure changes,” Garner noted. “Some of that can probably happen come spring. Perhaps some of the major changes would have to wait until fall.”

To pick up free firewood from the Crook County RV Park tree removal, visit the Crook County Parks and Recreation District Office, 296 S. Main St. Wood will be made available on a first come first serve basis beginning Dec. 16.

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