HR County seeks grants for Kingsley campground projects

Replacing Kingsley Campground after a planned flood will take grant support.

The Hood River County Forestry Department is poised to submit a grant application request to Oregon Parks and Recreation Department this spring to help fund the first phase of the campground’s reconstruction and expansion.

Leading up to the grant process, the county is seeking letters of support for the request, according to Henry Buckalew, trails program coordinator and forest technician with the county forestry department.

Buckalew explained that the state requires those letters along with each grant application. The deadline to send in the grant application will be April 1.

Kingsley’s campground and staging area shut down in September — a scheduled closure that happened to coincide with land closures amid the Eagle Creek fire. It will reopen around spring 2019.

The recreation site was decommissioned due to a Farmers Irrigation District agriculture project that will boost the holding capacity of Kingsley Reservoir by 11 vertical feet above the usual high water mark.

Support letters needed

“The state prefers the majority of letters to come from those who have used the existing campground and surrounding area, but anyone can help.

Letters are needed from users, agencies, clubs, businesses, etc.,” the county’s Henry Buckalew wrote in an email.

“Forestry is sending this message in order to determine who would be willing to help with the new grant by writing a letter. If you are willing to help, please contact me and I will provide the details needed for the letter.”

The forestry department can be contacted at 541-387-7089.

The increased footprint of the reservoir will flood about 16 acres — and many of the county’s existing campsites — forcing the Forestry Department to construct a new campground and day use area in a different location.

Hood River County Board of Commissioners have reviewed options for a new campground that will replace the county’s acreage post-flood.

The existing campground has 24 sites and no full-time host. Its expanded replacement, according to an option on the table, would double sites to 50, and feature an overseeing staffer.

Commissioners directed staff to move forward with the first two phases of the campground project, subject to available funding.

Kingsley is about nine miles southwest from Hood River city limits. A network of county-owned forest trails surrounds the lake, affording terrain to hikers, bikers, ATV vehicle riders and campers.

Doug Thiesies, county forestry manager, said Buckalew’s email to interested parties about letters of support garnered a good response.

“There is still a lot of work to be done on the project, but we are doing what we can as we move through the process so everything is not too stacked up come March,” Thiesies noted.



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