Officials Warn about Overcrowding at County Parks

Clackamas County officials are warning about overcrowding at area parks during the anticipated heat wave this weekend, with highs expected to be in excess of 100 degrees.

County parks have been filling up quickly this summer, including Metzler, Feyrer, Eagle Fern, Barton, Wagonwheel and Knights Bridge just west of Canby on the Molalla River.

Clackamas County reminded visitors this week that parking facilities at our parks can quickly fill up on hot summer days, exacerbated by the fact that some parks have reduced parking capacity this summer due to coronavirus restrictions.

Some parks, including Barton Park in the Boring area and the Carver Boat Ramp on Springwater Road, may be closed by staff once they reach full capacity, to help ensure the safety of all visitors. People may want to take alternate routes to avoid traffic congestion near these parks.

“On hot days, our parking lots can be full by late morning, and we have to close the gate and turn people away until parking starts opening up again later in the day,” says Interim Clackamas County Parks and Forest Manager Tom Riggs. “I encourage everyone to have a plan B in case the park you’re heading for is full.”

The county encourages residents to visit other nearby county parks where less congestion occurs, such as Eagle Fern Park and Metzler Park. They both have areas to cool off in the creek, and offer features such as picnicking, hiking and more.

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Canby officials have also asked for the public’s help in managing overcrowding at city recreational areas — particularly those along the Molalla River.

Canby Fire Chief Jim Davis spoke earlier this month about an alarming call for medical service at Community Park, which was so overcrowded with vehicles that firefighters had to park on the street.

Chief Davis also expressed dismay about the crowd — which he estimated at “well over 1,000” — and their apparent lack of wearing face coverings or adhering to other social distancing guidelines amid the continuing Covid-19 pandemic.

New lines and no parking signs were installed at the popular city park on the Molalla River, and Canby police have since stepped up their presence and enforcement in the area. If a vehicle is parked illegally, police will try to locate the owner to move it.

If the owner cannot be found, the vehicle may be towed.

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