Park Explorer Series

Program Application

This application is organized in the following sections:

  1. About Us
  2. About Park Explorer Series
  3. Program Eligibility
  4. Overview of participating parks
  5. Application Questions
  6. Terms and Conditions
  7. Contact Info

I. About Us

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department manages more than 250 park areas in Oregon, including 52 campgrounds. We aim to provide and protect outstanding natural, scenic, cultural, historic and recreational sites for the enjoyment and education of present and future generations. Oregon's Office of Outdoor Recreation coordinates the state’s outdoor recreation policy across agencies, between public and private sectors, and in cooperation with organizations that have a vested interest in seeing Oregon’s outdoor recreation reach its fullest potential.

Both organizations aim to remove barriers in outdoor recreation. Qualitative and quantitative research indicates we have work to do to achieve this goal. The data shows that while minority racial and ethnic groups — American Indian, Asian, Black, and Latino — are growing fast in Oregon, these groups are underrepresented in outdoor areas in Oregon and across the country. Qualitative research indicates barriers also exist for people with limited incomes, people with disabilities and LGBTQ+ people.  

II. About Park Explorer Series

The Park Explorer Series is a competitive opportunity for organizations to apply to coordinate one of eight small group camping trips for communities that are underrepresented in outdoor recreation. Each recipient organization will be awarded five cabins or yurts for a two-night weekend stay at select parks, detailed below. Trips are scheduled for weekends in July, August and September. The organizations will be responsible for selecting occupants (program participants) of each site and supporting them in preparation for the camping trip.

The program aims to remove barriers to camping for underrepresented groups and create a meaningful and positive experience for participants that will hopefully lead to many more park visits. We selected eight parks close to populated areas in order to make this program accessible to as many people as possible. We selected popular parks with large cabin or yurt areas, as these facilities are an entry point for people new to camping or who lack camping gear, but also may not be accessible to our target demographic due to cost and limited availability. These facilities are commonly booked nine months in advance, excluding anyone who does not have the luxury of planning and paying that far in advance.

III. Program Eligibility

To be eligible for this opportunity, organizations must meet the following criteria:

  • The organization must serve Oregonians. Regional and national organizations that are active in Oregon are eligible to apply.
  • The organization must demonstrate experience and commitment to serving communities that are underrepresented in the outdoors. “Underrepresented communities” include racial ethnic minority groups as well as people living in poverty, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ people. Organizations that serve a community not listed here are encouraged to apply and make a case for why the community qualifies as “underrepresented.”
  • The organization must demonstrate ability to administer the program, including selecting participants, assisting participants in site reservation process, helping participants prepare for the event, and supporting participants during the event to ensure that they have a meaningful and positive experience.
  • Preference will be given to organizations that demonstrate a plan to continue to support participants' engagement with the outdoors after the camping trip ends.

IV. Overview of Participating Parks

Locations are listed in this section. We have summarized information about each of the participating parks and their facilities. All the parks have flush restrooms, showers and water near the facilities, except at Prineville Reservoir where each cabin has its own bathroom. These parks also feature a multitude of recreation activities and ranger-led programming for the entire family.

The exact layout and features of cabins and yurts vary by park, and are detailed in our Comfort Camping brochure. In general, both yurts and cabins have a combination of futon couches and single and double bunk beds. Capacity varies by park and by facility; most sleep up to 5 or 6 people. All cabins and yurts include heat, electricity, locking doors and an outdoor fire pit and picnic table. Participants must provide their own bedding, dishes and other camping gear. And, of course, they must agree to all park rules

If you have specific questions about any of the participating parks, please call our Information Center at 800-551-6949.
 

Beverly Beach State Park

  • Site type: Yurt
  • Site features: Four of the yurts are pet-friendly

Beverly Beach State Park is located between Newport and Depoe Bay, just off Highway 101. The forest-sheltered campground connects to the beach via a walkway under the Highway.
 

Cape Lookout State Park

  • Site type: Yurt

Cape Lookout State Park is located an hour and a half west of Portland near Tillamook. The shaded campground is located alongside three miles of beach. More than eight miles of hiking and walking trails wind through a lush old-growth forest.
 

Champoeg State Heritage Area

  • Site type: Yurt
  • Site features: Two yurts are pet-friendly and one yurt is pet-friendly and ADA accessible

Champoeg is situated in the heart of the Willamette Valley along the Willamette River, six miles south of Newberg. Paved trails for walking and biking wind past a disc golf course and through the park’s forest, prairie and wetlands.
 

L.L. Stub Stewart State Park

  • Site type: Cabin
  • Site features: All are ADA accessible

Located 34 miles west of Portland, the park’s 1,800 acres include more than 25 miles of wooded trails for hiking and mountain biking. The 21-mile paved Banks-Vernonia State Trail also passes through the park. Three disc golf courses — 18-holes, 9 holes, and 3-holes — provide opportunities for all skill levels.
 

LaPine State Park

  • Site type: Cabin
  • Site features: Two cabins are pet-friendly; one cabin is ADA accesible

Located in a subalpine forest a half hour south of Bend, this quiet park alongside the Deschutes River is popular for hiking, mountain biking, fishing and floating. The day-use area includes a beach and swim area marked off by buoys.
 

William M. Tugman State Park

  • Site type: Yurt
  • Site features: Two yurts are pet-friendly and ADA accessible; one yurt is ADA accessible

Tugman’s lakeside campground, located between Reedsport and Coos Bay near the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, is a great place for fishing, swimming, canoeing, sailing and boating. A trail around the south end of the lake provides opportunity to see of osprey, crane, eagle and deer.
 

Silver Falls State Park

  • Site type: Cabin
  • Site features: Two cabins are ADA accessible

Best known for its ten spectacular waterfalls, Silver Falls has several hikes to choose from that lead to waterfalls, and another 35 miles of backcountry trails for hikes, mountain bikes and horses. The park’s Nature Play Area, a playground built into the natural forested environment, is also a draw.
 

Prineville Reservoir State Park

  • Site type: Deluxe Cabin
  • Site features: All cabins have kitchens and bathrooms. One cabin is ADA accessible; one cabin is pet-friendly and ADA accessible.

This high desert campground on Prineville Reservoir features fishing, a beach and swim area, and all manner of water sports. The wide open night sky is ideal for stargazing.       

V. Application questions

Please submit your answers to the following questions in Survey Monkey. Applications must be received by 5 p.m. Friday, March 6.

  1. Describe your mission and organizational structure (staff and/or volunteers). If applicable, describe the specific program or programs that pertain to this opportunity. How does the Park Explorer Series program fit in with your organization’s mission?
  1. What communities does your organization serve? How does your organization serve communities that are underrepresented in the outdoors?
  1. Please describe how you would conduct outreach and select program participants if your organization is selected.
  1. How will your organization assist participants before and during the event to ensure they have a meaningful and positive experience?
  1. How will you extend or build upon this outdoor experience for program participants after this program is complete?
  1. Of locations being offered, which are your top three choices?
  1. Please let us know if there are any locations/weekends that your organization/group cannot attend.
  1. What, if any, support would your organization need to participate in the Park Explorer Series? While OPRD cannot accommodate all requests, we will evaluate each request and provide support where possible.

VI. Terms and Conditions

Should your organization be selected to participate in this program, the following terms and conditions apply:

  • The recipient shall not resell sites.
  • The recipient shall make every effort to fill all five sites.
  • Each organization must provide contact information for the primary occupant of each site who must be 18 or older. The program participants will receive a list of campground rules before arriving at the park.
  • One of the five sites may be reserved for a group leader.
  • Pets are allowed only inside yurts and cabins designated as “pet-friendly.”
  • No smoking in any yurt or cabin.
  • Both the organization and the primary occupants must respond to a post-stay survey within 30 days. The surveys will cover outdoor recreation preferences and will help us evaluate this program.

 

VI. Contact Information

Please direct questions to Chris Havel: 503-986-0722 (d) | 503-931-2590 (m) | chris.havel@oregon.gov

 

Some parks are open for day-use and camping, with reduced services. Check the Park Status Map and FAQ for details. Campfire restrictions may be in place.