A favorite state park of Oregonians and tourists appears to be shut down to camping, possibly for good. Although the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is taking public comment on the situation at Oswald West State Park – one forced by falling trees that present quite the quandary, according to beachconnection.net, Manzanita.
OPRD spokesman Chris Havel said the agency is exploring options for the future of the park and campground. The problem is: do they cut down ancient trees that are in danger of falling into the campground, or do they leave them and the park in its natural state and shut down camping for safety reasons?
The small, primitive campground at Oswald West State Park on the north Oregon coast, near Manzanita, was closed in June 2008. The closure was announced after a large, mature spruce tree fell around midnight in the middle of the campground. Luckily, no one was injured, even though the campground was full at the time.
Throughout the winter, park managers and natural resource specialists examined the campground closely and discovered more trees were ready to fall sometime in the future. About 49 were found in a possibly precarious state, many around five to six feet in circumference, but a few more than 20 feet round, possibly 300 years old.
These could fall into the campground itself or onto one of a few high-use trails throughout the densely forested park.
Approximately 15,000 people a year use the campground, which has 30 primitive sites.
While the main trails and the beach were never closed, left open for day use, the campground posed worries for officials.