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Jackson County Parks Announces Plan to Reopen

Jackson County Parks Announces Plan to Reopen

May 8, 2020, Jackson County Parks has finalized its reopening plan now that the State of Oregon has clarified how park systems can operate during the initial phase of reopening.  “We’re happy to see some guidance on how we can operate, but ultimately the restrictions will significantly change how our customers use our parks this summer,” said Steve Lambert, Parks Program Manager.  Under the new guidance, camping facilities can begin reopening on May 15, 2020 as long as Jackson County’s request to reopen under Phase 1 guidelines is approved.

Per Phase 1 guidelines for outdoor recreation issued by the Oregon Health Authority today, Parks programs are required to keep “day-use areas that are prone to attracting crowds (including, but not limited to, playgrounds, picnic shelters/structures, water parks and pools)” closed and limit groups to ten people or less.  Group gatherings in excess of ten will be cancelled and customers will be required to practice physical distancing when in the parks.

The waterslide at Emigrant Lake will remain closed for the summer.  As pools and water parks are still closed and are not expected to reopen until July, the decision was made to close the facility for the entire summer.  “The waterslide takes a significant investment to prepare for opening every year and has a limited amount of days in a normal summer to earn revenue.  With the number of days that it will be able to operate very limited this summer, in combination with physical distancing requirements and groups sizes, it would be nearly impossible to operate the facility in a safe and economical manner,” says Lambert.  Emigrant Lake will reopen for general day use and RV camping on Friday, May 15, 2020 with the tent campground reopening on the Thursday, May 21, 2020.

Due to extremely low water levels, in conjunction with COVID-19 concerns and the strict guidelines on how retail and restaurant facilities can operate, the lodge at the Howard Prairie Resort will remain closed for the entire 2020 summer as well.  However, the campground at the resort will be open in time for Memorial Day Weekend on Thursday, May 21, 2020.  Some facilities around Howard Prairie Lake that have no useable boat ramp will remain closed as use is expected to be limited and staffing is lower than normal levels due to declining revenues. 

Large day-use parks such as Emigrant Lake will limit the number of cars allowed to enter, in an effort to manage physical distancing.  Please plan on arriving earlier than usual to ensure that you can gain entry and, once in, don’t leave until you are done for the day, as you may not be able to return due to capacity concerns.  “On busy days, folks should arrive early, bring what they need for the day and, when they leave, don’t automatically expect to be able to return,” says Lambert.

The program is excited to fully reopen and serve their customer’s needs and encourages users to remember that this will not be a normal year and to plan accordingly by visiting the Jackson County Parks website at for up to date information.

A detailed schedule of opening dates is below.

Parks Reopening Schedule

Step 1 – May 1, 2020

1.       Dodge Bridge Boat Ramp

2.       Takelma Boat Ramp

3.       Upper Rogue Regional Boat Ramp

4.       Rogue Elk Boat Ramp

5.       Agate Lake Boat Ramp

6.       Willow Lake Boat Ramp

Step 2 – Week of May 11, 2020

1.       Cantrall Buckley Day Use Area (Opens May 15)

2.       Emigrant Lake Day Use Area/Point RV Park, including boat ramps (Opens May 15)

3.       Southern Oregon RV Park (Opens May 11)

4.       Rogue Elk Campground (Opens May 15)

Step 3 – Week of May 18, 2020

1.       Emigrant Lake Oak Slope Campground  (Opens May 21)

2.       Howard Prairie Resort Campground, cabin will remain closed (Opens May 21)

3.       Willow Lake Campground (Opens May 21)

Step 4 – Week of June 1, 2020

1.       Cantrall Buckley Campground

Step 5 – Unknown Opening Dates

1.       Apserkaha (dependent upon gathering size restrictions)

2.       The Riverhouse (dependent upon gathering size restrictions)

Sites/facilities to remain closed during 2020

1.       Emigrant Lake Waterslide

2.       HP Resort restaurant and store

3.       Grizzly, Willow Point, Sugar Pine and Klum Landing campgrounds


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