Oregon's state parks aren't just places. From the air, they may look like patches of ground much like any other, but two things turn these places into parks.
First, we do make a few changes -- as few as possible -- when we add a trail, create an overlook, preserve a historic building or three, sometimes make a place to camp. Just enough improvements, we think, to help you enjoy the place without getting in the way of its natural or historic beauty.
The other thing that turns a place into a park? You. You make a place a park when you visit. You also make it a park when you show your devotion and chip in to help protect and improve parks for the people who will come after us. This dedication -- yours and ours -- to the ongoing mission of parks distinguishes your state parks from some ordinary patch of ground.
Or you could make a donation to the private, independent Oregon State Parks Foundation. The Foundation is the only state-wide 501-(c)-3 nonprofit dedicated to raising funds to protect and preserve special places and experiences in your state park system, and they are a crucial way to channel your financial support. Their past successes include funding an education center at Cottonwood Canyon, critical improvements at Crown Point, Kam Wah Chung and Fort Yamhill, the installation of hike and bike shelters in state parks along the coast, and funding 3rd-5th grade school trips to the parks.