Ramping Up

Ramping Up

The boat ramp on the southeast corner of Hyatt Lake is called Mt. View Dock for its Mount McLoughlin vista, but it could easily be dubbed The Rube Goldberg Memorial Ramp.

With only one way in and out, a boat owner must first drive his truck and trailer head-first into the ramp, then maneuver back and forth to get in position to back down a concrete ramp that doesn't go far enough into the lake for expensive bass boats.

Once in, boaters launch against a floating dock that's stuck on bent railings and it's not even on the same side of the ramp as the mooring docks. So you motor or row across the face of the ramp, tie up your boat at the slip and run down a separate gangway to shore.

Then go park your truck and trailer in a tiny lot — with no parking spaces for trucks with trailers.

All those gyrations for one simple launching, and that's 20 minutes of your fishing life you're not getting back.

"Let's just say it's not real conducive to launch a boat," says Nick Schade, the Bureau of Land Management's recreation planner.

But the largely ignored Mt. View Dock will become the launch site of choice at Hyatt Lake later this summer following a major rebuilding effort that's designed to actually make it worth the time and effort to launch a boat there.

The $415,500 project will rebuild the two separate public launches within BLM's Hyatt Lake Recreation Area off Hyatt-Prairie Road in a manner that will make life easier for day-use boater as well as those staying in the area's campgrounds.

The Mt. View Dock will be the best launch and mooring site for day-use boaters who no longer will have to rumble through the campground at dawn to launch at the BLM's current main ramp and dock.

That dock instead will be transformed into a parking and mooring area more in tune with campers, who will keep their boats docked during their multi-day stays.

Both ramps will be extended farther and deeper into the lake so bass anglers don't have to worry about scraping their expensive boats and motors on the lake bed, even in low-water years.

"This way, folks will always have access to fishing and boating here," Schade says. "People now will be able to moor their boats without tying up the ramp."

The mooring areas actually will reach the docks, driving access to the ramps will be improved, and the parking lot will have spaces striped for boats with trailers.

They will also meet Americans with Disabilities Act access requirements so far ignored here.

The new facilities, which largely will remain inside the footprints of the current ones, were designed by the Oregon State Marine Board, which pitched in with a $195,285 grant. The remaining cash comes from BLM's recreation fund, Schade says.

The current ramps likely were built by BLM crews during the late 1970s or early 1980s, when use was light and mostly involved smaller boats used by trout fishermen, Schade says. But the lake's illegal introduction of largemouth bass has made it a destination for bass anglers now, and surveys of visitors showed that the Mt. View Dock was not to their liking because of its design, he says.

The new Mt. View Dock is scheduled to become a jumping-off point for an upcoming "water trail" for canoers and kayakers. Also, it's within a corner of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, and Schade says he envisions it as a portal for monument public access.

"We want to make it a show-place where we can let visitors know about the monument," he says.

Because boat access is already at a premium, construction crews will have to stagger the projects so at least one usable ramp is open at the recreation area, Schade says.

Plans call for starting the first phase at Mt. View on July 9, closing that area until Aug. 20, Schade says.

Once the new Mt. View ramp and moorings are completed, the new dock and parking construction at the recreation area's main ramp will begin, he says. That work should be done by Oct. 9, Schade says.

The work will be scheduled so it won't overly stress campers. Crews won't begin work until 8 a.m., and they'll cut out by 6:30 p.m., Schade says.

And when they leave in October, they'll take the Rube Goldberg jokes with them.

"It definitely benefits the folks who use this lake," Schade says.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email Follow him on Twitter at

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