The local people who plan to camp at Douglas County’s newest RV park at the coast want new bathrooms and higher amp electrical service, but they also want camping there to remain inexpensive.
That was some of the feedback Douglas County Parks Director Rocky Houston received Thursday from a small group that gathered for an open house about the Umpqua Dunes RV Park at the Douglas County Courthouse in Roseburg.
The park, formerly known as the Discovery Point RV Park, was purchased by the county in March. County officials hope it will be a revenue generator to pay not only for itself but for improvements and services at other county parks.
The park is primarily used by off-highway vehicle enthusiasts visiting the Oregon Dunes, and Houston said the state has identified Winchester Bay, where the RV park is located, as the number one place in the state that OHV tourists visit.
Houston explained the campground has been used as a recreational site since the 1920s, so maintenance and improvements are needed there, including to the sewer and water lines, and that a few of the facility’s cabins needed to be removed.
He also presented three conceptual drawings of potential redevelopment plans. All would expand the space around individual RV campgrounds.
The plans differ in the number of two-bedroom cabins included, whether a group camping area is included, and whether either one or two retail stores are included.
Houston said the county’s goal is to narrow down the options to a final draft development plan based on the community’s input and to bring that back to the community in February or March along with a cost estimate.
He said he doesn’t have an estimate now of what the cost will be.
This was the second of two open houses the Parks Department has hosted about the RV park, and it also sought feedback through a survey of previous campers.
Participants Thursday placed dot stickers next to the items they preferred on a list of potential priorities. Right away, items like a new restroom and shower building, 50 amp electrical service and RV sites larger than 60 feet emerged as favorites. That was consistent with the feedback from the surveys.
Diana Larson placed a dot next to clean and well-maintained restrooms.
“Restrooms are always a big one. It’s kind of a barometer for any establishment how clean their restrooms are,” she said.
During a question-and-answer session, several issues were raised about the project.
Tim Moyer and D.J. Moyer said they were worried the camping fee would increase to the point that local OHVers would be forced to look to other locations like Coos Bay to camp.
“Looking at these layouts it seems to me that we’re setting up more for a resort style, with (the county) now owning Half Moon Bay, Windy Cove A, Windy Cove B and Umpqua Dunes, and my fear is now we’re going to start pricing local families and (others) out of the park,” Tim Moyer said.
“We want to keep it affordable for Douglas County working families,” D.J. Moyer said.
Houston said the county would try to balance its need to maintain a self-sufficient Parks Department with the need to keep camping affordable.
Alyssa McConnel said instead of offering a retail store onsite, it would be better to direct campers to existing businesses in town, and to create pedestrian pathways or other transportation to encourage campers to patronize local businesses.