Lane County Parks introduced its park master plan to 11 Creswell community members on Aug. 1 during an open forum. The forum was designed to bring the plan to Lane County communities, where officials would receive feedback on the plan that would then be incorporated into the final, 20-year master plan.
Charlie Conrad, parks supervising analyst; Brett Henry, parks division manager; and Dan Hurley, Creswell public works, presented the goals and key strategies that the master plan will touch on.
In Lane County, there is a diverse park system of 68 parks, which makes up 4,300 acres.
The parks are classified into nine sections: Regional, recreation resource, water access, local parks, natural areas, undeveloped or closed areas, special use, land back and other properties.
Regional is a large park with specialized facilities and unique features and a recreation resource is a minimally developed open space managed for outdoor recreation.
Water access is site developed to provide water access, while a special use is a single-purpose site that provides access to a specific cultural or natural resource. Local parks support local access and meet recreation needs for the community, while natural areas are intended for resource protection. An undeveloped or closed area is where land is intended for a park, but not currently managed or maintained. A land back is held for resource management, temporary holding or future uses not yet determined. Other properties are parks maintained by staff through a contracted maintenance agreement.
The county’s goals were crafted after the first round of outreach, when community members in 2011 highlighted themes they wanted present in the new plan. These themes include: investing in a water, nature and trail-based recreation system; protecting natural areas; improving maintenance and stewardship; adding and enhancing water-based facilities; investing significantly in targeted parks; and increasing awareness of county parks and facilities.
Through these outreach results, the parks department have proposed six goals for the plan to adhere to: collaborate, connect, create vibrancy, generate economic vitality, protect resources and reflect the communities’ values.
The key strategies for each goal are as follows:
• Collaborate and engage with the community by hiring a volunteer coordinator, creating a 501(c)(3) umbrella friends group and reaching out to local businesses.
• Connect people to nature by providing a variety of experiences for able-bodied and disabled individuals, as well as creating social media campaigns to push out information.
• Create vibrancy by revitalizing and renovating key parks, and incorporating new activities and features, like disc golf.
• Generate economic vitality by working with communities to attract activities and tourists to bring in business. This includes collaborating with Travel Lane County and expanding camping options, as well as large events. The department is even working on a parking pass app to invoke easy access to parks.
• Protect resources for future generations by increasing investment in maintenance and doing inventory of the parks’ resources.
• Reflect values by emphasizing the parks’ diverse natural characteristics, and developing an identity for the Lane County Parks department.
While there are challenges that face Lane County Parks due to its diverse system, such as managing all the different sites, Henry said that it is a chance to provide communities different opportunities and experiences.
Lane County is expecting to adopt the plan at the end of the year, and community feedback ends Aug. 31. More information and the full master plan can be found at: http://www.lanecounty.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=3585881&pageId=4280452.