Neighbors concerned over proposal to add campgrounds to Wildwood - KPTV - FOX 12

Neighbors concerned over proposal to add campgrounds to Wildwood Recreation Area

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MOUNT HOOD, OR (KPTV) -

A proposal to turn a popular recreation area near Welches into a campground has people who live nearby concerned about the park and their town's future.

Wildwood Recreation Area, which is tucked into the woods just north of Highway 26 in Mt. Hood Village, offers a quiet escape to nature, just a short drive from Portland, with picnic areas, a playground, and access to the Salmon River.

The Bureau of Land Management, which owns and operates the recreation area, has proposed expanding the park to accommodate overnight camping in tents, yurt sites, and RV sites.

"There's a lot of us that don't like the idea," said Dan Thompson, a Mt. Hood Village resident. "It would be like opening a camping area in Laurelhurst Park."

He and other people who live in the area worry the proposed upgrades would change the character of the park for the worse.

"I don't like it," said Sarah Ballenger, who regularly brings her family to the park from Sandy. "I think it will bring the wrong crowd in, and destroy the beauty of the place and the peacefulness."

The BLM, on the other hand, believes the upgrades to the recreation area would provide enhanced recreational opportunities, in a popular area where campsites are in high demand.

The BLM is allowing 30 days for the public to comment on the proposal.

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