New park manager settles into role at Milo McIver
From hiking to paddle boarding, there are a variety of activities at Milo McIver State Park that Jason Elkins appreciates.
Elkins, who has been the park's manager since May, appreciates the diversity of recreation opportunities visitors can choose from.
"I've worked at parks with larger campgrounds, and there's a diversity of different opportunities guests have to recreate at Milo," he said, noting that his favorite areas of the park are Estacada Lake and Kingfisher Campground.
Prior to arriving at the state park in Estacada, Elkins worked at Fort Stevens State Park, Cape Lookout State Park and Detroit Lake State Recreation Area. He studied to be a park ranger at Hocking College in Ohio. "I knew I wanted to work outdoors with people recreating," he said. "I drove here in my old pickup truck and here I am, 12 years later "
Elkins has many positive memories of his time working for Oregon State Parks thus far, but cites collaborating with a Department of Corrections work crew on a suspension bridge at Cape Lookout as one of his favorites.
"I was really proud of the end result," he said. "It will be there for years to come."
Elkins also appreciates the camaraderie among the parks staff. "I've met a lot of friends along the way. The agency has a real family feel to it," he said.
In his role as park manager, Elkins participates in many projects at Milo McIver. "Every day is different. It's never the same. It keeps you on your toes. At this park in particular, there are a lot of different partners we work with," he said, noting that collaborators include Portland General Electric and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. "There are a lot of projects underway. It's been a quick way to get to know all of the partners."
Looking to the future, Elkins hopes to oversee the park increasing its accessibility to all groups of people. He noted that some restroom stalls and doorways have been widened to accommodate wheelchairs.
"It's important to keep thinking of ways to improve the accessibility of the park and continue to be welcoming to people from all walks of life," he said. "Especially with the different recreation opportunities we have, we bring in different cultures and user groups."
Elkins is eager to continue his tenure at Milo McIver State Park. "I'm excited to be at the park, and I'm excited to become more familiar with the community," he said. "We have a great team at the park. We can do great things."
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