Deschutes Co. commissioners mull Smith Rock parking restrictions

Visitors to Smith Rock State Park will likely see more “no parking signs” next month.

Deschutes County commissioners are trying to address the growing parking problems surrounding the Terrebonne landmark.

Neighbors have complained for years when designated parking spots are full, visitors park along narrow roads, blocking traffic and forcing pedestrians into travel lanes.

And with the 4th of July falling on a weekend this year, Park Manager Matt Davey worries visitor numbers – and parking problems – will increase even more.

“It used to really drop a lot during the summertime. But, since more and more people are coming from out of the area, I don’t think they realize just how it really does get at Smith Rock when it’s above 90.”

Davey told commissioners on Wednesday the park averaged 1,200 cars per day over the Memorial Day weekend. That’s roughly 3,000 people – and that was with statewide travel restrictions still in place.

Commissioner Phil Henderson and Chairwoman Patti Adair said they would try to visit the park over the weekend to get a better sense of the parking issues and crowding before discussing it again during a meeting on Monday.

The commission is leaning toward increasing the “no parking” signs in the area, but they’re also considering long-term fixes like an off-site parking lot and shuttle.

But those plans likely wouldn’t happen for some time.

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