Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

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The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD),[1] officially known (in state law) as the State Parks and Recreation Department,[2] is the government agency of the U.S. state of Oregon which operates its system of state parks. In addition, it has programs to protect and provide public access to natural and historic resources within the state, including the State Historic Preservation Office, Oregon Heritage Commission, Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries, recreation trails, the Ocean Shores Recreation Area, scenic waterways and the Willamette River Greenway. The department's chief sources of funding are the Oregon Lottery, state park user fees. and recreation vehicle license fees. The department also manages the system of rest areas along the highways and freeways within the state. In 2006 the department was delegated responsibility for managing the Oregon State Fair.[3]

The department was created in 1921[4] as a branch of the Oregon Highway Department (predecessor to the present-day Oregon Department of Transportation). The 1989 Oregon Legislative Assembly transferred authority to a newly created department under its current name effective January 1, 1990.

In the 2019 fiscal year, Oregon state parks attracted 55 million visitors, a 1.3 percent increase from the previous fiscal year.[5] For the 2010 fiscal year, Oregon ranked first among U.S. states in state park capacity utilization rate, indicating that Oregon's state parks were the most overused.[6] As of 2012, 7.5 percent of lottery revenues in Oregon were dedicated to state and local parks, leading to new park acquisitions and a reduced backlog of maintenance at existing parks. Nevertheless, Oregon ranked 30th in the nation in state park acreage per 1,000 people. At the same time, it ranked second nationally for the number of park visitors per acre, indicating that the state’s limited area of parks are intensively used.[7]

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  1. ^ Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, accessed April 2008
  2. ^ Oregon Revised Statutes, Chapter 390 — State and Local Parks; Recreation Programs; Scenic Waterways; Recreation Trails, accessed April 2008: "390.111 Creation of department; jurisdiction and authority. (1) The State Parks and Recreation Department is created. The department consists of the State Parks and Recreation Commission, the State Parks and Recreation Director and all other officers and employees of the department."
  3. ^ Heine, Steven Robert. The Oregon State Fair Images of America. Arcadia Publishing. 2007-08-20. pp. 7–8.
  4. ^ 1921 is the date given by the state Bluebook, though ODOT's history says the foundation was laid by legislation passed in 1925.
  5. ^ "Annual Performance Progress Report: Reporting Year 2019" (pdf). Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. 2019-09-12. p. 16. Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  6. ^ Siderelisa, Christos; Moorea, Roger L.; Leunga, Yu-Fai; Smith, Jordan W. (2012). "A nationwide production analysis of state park attendance in the United States" (PDF). Journal of Environmental Management. 99: 18–26. Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  7. ^ "10 Year Plan for Oregon Project: Healthy Environment Policy Vision" (PDF). State of Oregon. April 2012. p. 10. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04.

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