Benson State Recreation Area

Park History

Park property was acquired between 1939 and 1977, including gifts from the City of Portland, Multnomah County and Rueben and Rose Lenske. Early developments in the park were carried out by the Civilian Conservation Corps between 1933 and 1935. Further development began in 1950 with day-use facilities and improvements for swimming in the lake on Multnomah Creek. In 1977, the State Highway Division acquired additional acreage through purchase. The park is named for Simon Benson (1852-1942), a native of Norway who became a logging operator, roads advocate, and philanthropist. He was the first chairman of the citizen State Highway Commission which superseded the State Board of Control in 1917. In Portland he constructed the Benson Hotel , endowed Benson Polytechnic High School and gave 20 bronze drinking fountains (Benson Bubblers) to the city. Benson once owned a portion of the present park. .

Acreage: 290

Annual day-use attendance: 141,530


Benson State Recreation Area FAQ

General

Did you know in 2012 our park participated in customer surveys?

According to a 2012 survey of park visitors:

94% of our customers describe being "very satisfied" or "satisfied" with their overall experience at Benson State Recreation Area.

93% of our customers reported that they were either "very likely" or "likely" to return to Benson State Recreation Area in the future.

One customer commented, "We come here often to kayak, canoe and swim, as well as picnic. It's a perfect place for family get togethers. It is inclusive of all people. We always see a diversity of families when we visit this park and I'm glad everyone can feel welcome and safe here. Thank you for maintaining such a wonderful park. "

How do I pay day use fee?

Please be aware that our Fee Machine takes credit cards ONLY.

How do I reserve the picnic shelter?

Reservations may be made 1 day to 9 months ahead of time.  The picnic shelter at Benson State Park is reservable through online reservations (available 365 days a year, opening at midnight every day)  or by calling (800) 452-5687 (Oregon Telecommunications Relay Service 800-735-2900 for the hearing impaired), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

What's Allowed

Can I bring my boat?

Yes, but no motorized boats on the Benson Lake or Hartman Pond.  There is no boatlaunch, carry in boats only.

Can I fly my drone in the park?

UAS IN STATE PARKS IN THE COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE

UAS shall be limited and/or prohibited in Oregon State Parks in the Columbia River Gorge by reason of the following:
1. Interfere with other, established forms of recreation.
2. Endanger a natural or cultural resource.  (This includes disturbance of sensitive wildlife.)
3. Pose a risk to people or property.

ALLOWED PROPERTIES when following UAS GUIDELINES

Visitors following these UAS Guidelines are allowed to fly UAS in the following Oregon State Park properties in the Columbia River Gorge:
• George W. Joseph State Natural Area
• Dalton Point State Recreation Site
• Mitchell Point (Wygant State Natural Area, Vinzenz Lausman Memorial State Natural Area, Seneca Fouts Memorial State Natural Area)
• Mayer State Park (East, West, and Middle)
• Post Canyon (Wygant State Natural Area, Vinzenz Lausman Memorial State Natural Area, Seneca Fouts Memorial State Natural Area)

UAS are allowed seasonally, between October 1 and May 31, in the following Oregon State Park properties:
• Dabney State Recreation Area
• Rooster Rock State Park (ALLOWED ONLY WEST of the main office restroom)
• Benson State Recreation Area

PROHIBITED PROPERTIES

UAS are prohibited in the following Oregon State Park properties in the Columbia River Gorge:
• Rocky Butte State Scenic Corridor
• Lewis and Clark State Recreation Site
• Portland Women's Forum State Scenic Viewpoint
• Crown Point State Scenic Corridor
• Rooster Rock State Park (PROHIBITED EAST of the main office restroom, allowed seasonally WEST)
• Lower Latourell Falls (Guy W. Talbot State Park)
• Shepperd's Dell State Natural Area
• Bridal Veil Falls State Scenic Viewpoint
• Angel's Rest Trailhead
• Ainsworth State Park
• Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail (Including:  John B. Yeon State Scenic Corridor, Bonneville State Scenic Corridor, Toothrock Trailhead, Bridge of the Gods Trailhead, Hatfield West Trailhead, and Hatfield East Trailhead)
• Wyeth State Recreation Area (Undeveloped)
• Starvation Creek State Park
• Viento State Park
• Koberg Beach State Recreation Site
• Memaloose State Park
• Memaloose Overlook
• Rowena Crest

UAS are prohibited between June 1 and September 30 in the following properties:
• Dabney State Recreation Area
• Rooster Rock State Park (All areas)
• Benson State Recreation Area

SPECIAL USE PERMITS

UAS may be authorized in “Prohibited” Oregon State Park properties under agreed upon conditions, with a valid Special Use Permit signed by the park manager.  14 days of notice are required.  Special Use Permits may be considered for reasons such as scientific research, natural or cultural resource mapping, search and rescue, marketing, facility inspections, and/or similar activities.

SPECIAL USE PERMITS FOR FLYING UAS
  Request permits at the following locations:
Rooster Rock State Park Office, 503-695-2261
Viento State Park Office, 541-374-8811

Once permitted, please follow the “Columbia River Gorge Oregon State Parks:  UAS Guidelines” stated below and carry your Special Use Permit on you when flying your drone in parks.

COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE OREGON STATE PARKS:  UAS GUIDELINES

Know Where to Fly
• UAS may only be flown in areas and during dates listed as “Allowed” in the “UAS in Oregon State Parks, Columbia River Gorge:  Park Listing and Guidelines” and with a signed Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Guidelines.
• UAS must be flown away from any structures, trees, or overhead obstacles.
• Flying must comply with all FAA regulations and guidance.  http://www.faa.gov/uas/
Protecting Wildlife and the Environment
• Do not fly over or near wildlife.  Intentionally disturbing animals during breeding, nesting, rearing, or other critical life functions is not allowed.
Fly Safely, Stay in Control
• Keep your UAS in your sight at all times.
• Keep your UAS away from populated and noise-sensitive areas such as campgrounds, trailheads, and visitor centers.
• Remain 25 feet away from individuals and vulnerable property including but not limited to parking lots, trail heads, restrooms, picnic shelters, park offices, park shop yards, park utility buildings, and heavily traveled roadways.
• Do not interfere with other recreational users; yield to people who were there before you.
• Obey all privacy laws.

Following these guidelines does not transfer liability or responsibility for safe UAS operations from you as the UAS owner to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department or the State of Oregon.  The immunities provided by ORS 105

Animals

Can I bring my dog?

Yes! Please keep on a leash at all time.  Sorry, no dogs in the water though.


Statewide FAQ

Available via this link