The picnic tables are set, fire rings are installed and tent pads are ready for stakes.

After years of planning, raising money and building, Bear Creek Campground will open in the Little North Santiam Canyon on Thursday (May 1), the Statesman Journal reported.

Marion County (Ore.) Parks’ first official campground has been a dream more than three years in the making for Russ Dilley, the sole full-time employee of a system overseeing 18 green spaces from the Cascade Mountains to Keizer.

“We’ve had a lot of people ask over the years where they can go to camp in the Marion County Parks system, so it’s excellent to have this first one,” Dilley said. “It’s exciting, but also a little scary with it being so new.”

Bear Creek’s inauguration coincides with the opening of seven other Marion County parks — many of which are popular summertime destinations — including Aumsville Ponds, North Fork, Niagara, Salmon Falls, Minto, Spongs Landing and Scotts Mills.

The new campground, of course, is the highlight of 2014.

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