JaCo considering changes to boat ramp at popular Shady Cove park

SHADY COVE, Ore. —Jackson County is proposing changes to a popular Shady Cove park, and it’s causing concern in the community.

“We just want to make sure they don’t take our little paradise of a park here and turn it into a parking lot for the boat ramp,” said concerned resident, Jon Vall.

Concern from some in Shady Cove, over proposed changes at Shady Cove Park, or as it’s also called Upper Rogue Regional Park. Located in the heart of the small city, the boat ramp is in disrepair, after not seeing any major renovations for several decades.

“Yes we do need the boat ramp repaired and improved but we don’t want to lose our park,” said Vall.

Jackson County Roads and Park’s Director, Steve Lambert says the county’s been working with the Oregon State Marine Board for years to find solutions to reduce conflict and congestion at the boat ramp. It’s a popular spot for rafters and anglers, to get out of the Upper Rogue River. The county, which owns the park has come up with a few conceptual draft designs, with most of the changes coming to the parking lot area

“Our draft conceptual designs we’ve been kicking around some have staging areas for the rafting companies for customers, some have a walkway toward the end of the ramp so customers can walk to vehicles more expeditiously, they are all geared toward reducing conflict between the motorized and non-unmotorized community,” said Lambert.

But the park is small. Shady Cove resident, Jon Vall is concerned that adding more parking, will eliminate some of the grassy picnic area.

“We wanna be able to say hey let’s have some input, it’s really far along when you are in final conceptual plans and now you’re asking for input there’s been a lot of time out into this already,” said Vall.

There’s a handful of rafting companies in Shady Cove, which provides an economic boost to the city in the summer. David Bowman is the owner of Raft the Rogue Rentals. He’s all for the plans to improve the ramp.

“It needs to be twice as wide because all the raft companies have to sit and wait and the rafts pile up,” said Bowman.

Lambert says he hasn’t heard about any community concerns yet, but invites everyone to voice their opinion at a county open house Thursday.

“That facility is a boating facility and it serves a really big portion of the facility in shady cove especially the rafting companies so we’re going to want to construct a design that works for that need and hopefully minimized impact.”

The county’s open house Thursday is from 4 to 7 at the Jackson County Public Works Auditorium.

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Jenna King is the 6pm and 11pm anchor for NBC5 News. Jenna is a Burbank, CA native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at Oregon she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through her internship with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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