Smith Rock State Park is slated to get a new, wider pedestrian bridge this summer, which means there will be no bridge access for about four weeks during construction in mid to late summer. The exact dates depend on nesting season and streamflow.
The bridge spans the Crooked River in Central Oregon near Bend and connects the front of the park with many but not all of its hiking trails and climbing destinations. There will be no temporary bridge, and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department discourages wading across the river due to sensitive habitat and safety concerns.
“We know that this closure will have an impact on our park users, but our current footbridge must be replaced,” said Park Manager Matt Davey.
“Fortunately, we have many areas of the park for visitors to explore that don’t use this bridge, including Rim Rock Trail, Homestead Trail, Canyon Trail and North Point loop. Stop in to the welcome center, visit our website or go to SmithRock.com to learn about these other great areas. Thank you for your understanding and patience while this critical project takes place.”
The old bridge was built nearly 50 years ago and reconstructed about 30 years ago. The new bridge will measure 8 feet wide, about 2 feet wider than the current bridge, and better accommodate visitors and first responders during the park’s frequent rescue operations.
The exact dates of the bridge closure will not be set until closer to construction because they depend on two environmental factors:
• •Construction activity and noise near active nests is not permissible during raptor nesting season, which runs through Aug. 1. The work can begin before Aug. 1 if nests have fledged or failed.
• The in-water work period for the Crooked River is July 1 through August 15. This might be extended in coordination with other agencies if needed and allowed.
Crews will begin the initial work in July and continue through September if needed, but the biggest impact to visitors is the approximate 4-week bridge closure. The goal is to complete as much of the bridge construction as possible between Aug. 1 and Aug. 15.
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department will update information on the footbridge closure dates and times on the Smith Rock webpage and through smithrock.com/ as information becomes available. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the park at 541-548-7501 or email the park manager at Matthew.DAVEY@oprd.oregon.gov.
• Trails that will stay open include: Rim Rock Trail, Homestead Trail, Rope-de-Dope Trail, Canyon Trail and North Point loop
• Climbing areas accessible during construction include: North Point area (accessible from the Homestead and North Point loop trails), Rope-de-Dope boulder (accessible from the Rope-de-Dope trail and Canyon Trail) and The Lower Gorge (Climber Access routes)