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Owners getting out of 50-year lease with Bureau of Reclamation seven years early, must remove all structures

Prineville Reservoir Resort will not be open this summer, and the facility is poised to undergo some changes in amenities and ownership going forward.

Julie Mayers, co-owner of the resort, confirmed to Crook County Emergency Manager Michael Ryan last week that the resort will be closed this summer.

"We are in the process of closing out our contract with Bureau of Reclamation," she told Ryan in an email. "The future status of the campground we do not know at this time."

Mayers could not be reached for further comment.

Ryan reached out to resort owners Rick and Julie Mayers in part because the Crook County Sheriff's Office has moored its marine patrol fleet at the facility.

"This will present a problem for us," he said, adding they will need to find a new location.

Ryan later spoke with a Bureau of Reclamation representative who said they are getting out of their 50-year lease seven years early.

"Part of the getting out of their lease means they have to remove all of the structures on the property," he was told, adding that those structures include a couple of cabins, a restaurant and store and some boat docks.

"The Bureau of Reclamation said they are getting out of the recreation business," Ryan went on to say, "so as leases expire, they are not renewing them, and they are reverting the land back to its original shape."

While that is the case, the resort property may not stay empty indefinitely. Ryan was told that the Bureau is in communications with Oregon State Parks to make use of the space going forward.

Prineville Reservoir State Park Manager Steve Simonsen later confirmed that discussions have indeed begun, however, plans are in the very beginning stages.

"They (the Mayers) are not out of that lease yet, so BOR and Rick and Julie need to finish up whatever they need to finish up on their side of things," Simonsen said. "Then yes, State Parks is really considering taking over that campground. What that would look like in the future on our part isn't really set in stone yet."

While that is the case, Simonsen is willing to share what he hopes will happen at the site. He would like to add back amenities and turn the resort's main campground area into a day use area "for campers and for people to use down the lake shore."

He points out that if they took over the resort property, State Parks would own all of the land from there to Jasper Point.

"We would like to turn that (property) into some kind of campground up there," he said, adding that amenities would meet State Parks standards. "We would go in there and remodel it a little bit."

But for this summer, and the immediate future, the resort will remain closed and the property unavailable for public use.

"For at least the next three years, that area is no longer going to be operational," Ryan concluded.

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