In an effort to increase camping opportunities for underrepresented groups, select Oregon State Parks will offer free yurts and cabins for disabled, LGBTQ, and POC campers this summer.
The initiative was pioneered because segments of Oregon’s population do not camp or visit state parks in numbers that reflect their population. The Park Explorer Series program allows organizations to apply for one of eight small group camping trips for communities underrepresented in outdoor recreation. Summer may seem far off, but Oregon’s beautiful natural spaces are in high demand, so reservations will start early. Groups can apply to the program until March 6 and they will be notified in early April.
Oregon Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Sumption says, “Parks are for everyone, and this small gesture eliminates a very real barrier—cost—from the equation.”
The eight parks participating in the program are Beverly Beach State Park, Cape Lookout State Park, Champoeg State Heritage Area, L.L. Stub Stewart State Park, LaPine State Park, William M. Tugman State Park, Silver Falls State Park, and Prineville Reservoir State Park.
Public parks and recreation areas are spaces for everyone to share a love and respect for the outdoors. Making these spaces more accessible, both physically and financially, to marginalized groups is a great solution for getting everyone out to enjoy nature’s beauty.