Oregon Parks to launch pet-friendly yurt experiment in 2009

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is taking reservations for 2009 for special pet-friendly yurts and cabins as part of a pilot program to see whether catering to pet-campers will pencil out.

The reservation system opened Tuesday for dog and cat owners planning overnight state park visits next year with their pets at three state parks in Oregon.

This is the first part of a year-long experiment to see whether yurts dedicated solely for pet owners will be booked enough and kept clean enough to expand the opportunity.

State parks long have had a no-pets policy for all of its 190 yurts and 77 cabins. Department officials began reconsidering its policy after a 2007 survey revealed strong support for reviewing the ban.

Single yurts will be dedicated in 2009 to pet travelers at South Beach State Park, two miles south of Newport, and Stub Stewart State Park, 31 miles west of Portland.

Two pet-friendly cabins will be offered for rentals at LaPine State Park, 27 miles southwest of Bend.

No other yurts or cabins will take part in the program.

Each rental includes an extra $10 fee per night for cleaning, and campers are limited to two pets per site.

Reservations can be made only by telephone. The number is 1-800-452-5687.

WHITE CITY — The Denman Wildlife Area will host a special pheasant hunting workshop Sept. 20-21 designed to teach people the arts and skills of this popular upland game-bird hunting over the course of a weekend.

So far 13 people have signed up for the workshop, which will take up to 25 participants. The first day will focus on gun handling, safety, skeet shooting, and techniques for hunting pheasants with dogs.

The second day will consist of a morning pheasant hunt and then lunch.

The workshop is being offered through the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's popular Becoming an Outdoors Woman series, says Michelle Dennehy, the ODFW's Wildlife Division spokeswoman. However, this workshop is not limited to women, Dennehy says.

For more information and registration, telephone Mark Newell, the state's BOW coordinator, at 503-947-6018 or e-mail him at mark.newell@state.or.us.

Hunters, anglers and waterskiers who use the gravel access road on the Klamath Wildlife Area's Miller Island Unit will have only sporadic access over the next five weeks while the road gets major improvements.

The road and boat ramp will be closed intermittently through mid-October so the road can be widened and improved, the boat ramp and dock can be rebuilt and a wheelchair-access area is developed.

Access will be allowed on weekends and occasionally after working hours on weekdays when feasible, according to Lanny Fujishin from the Klamath Falls office of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, which operates the wildlife area.

When the road reopens, boaters will be urged to yield the right of way to construction crews.

The highest use for that ramp likely will occur during the youth waterfowl weekend Sept. 27-28 and the start of the regular waterfowl season Oct. 11.

The improvements are being funded with grants from the ODFW and the Oregon State Marine Board.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 776-4470, or e-mail mfreeman@mailtribune.com.

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