Coast park adds cabins, expects high demand

ASTORIA — If you build it...

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"You couldn't keep the yurts empty if you wanted to," said Justin Parker, ranger supervisor at Fort Stevens State Park in Hammond. "They're filled year-round."

Rangers hope it will be the same way with the 10 new cabins under construction at the park.

If all goes according to plan, the cabins should be ready this spring, but no official opening date has been set.

"This is the critical stretch of weeks," said Park Manager Mike Stein on Tuesday.

He said the cabins will reach a point when their roofs are in place and their interiors are dry and at that crucial time, park crews can go inside and finish everything else.

The cabins came to the park in kits constructed by inmates through the Oregon Corrections Enterprises (OCE)?work programs. The goal of the OCE is to give inmates full-time work or on-the-job training.

For the park, it means a relatively quick construction time. Work on the cabins started in November and crews were beginning to lay down the metal roofing Tuesday.

Able to sleep five adults comfortably, the cabins will be equipped with electricity and running water and will have a front porch and three rooms: a bathroom, a back bedroom and a front room.

People come to the park year-round and in all sorts of weather. The yurts already house campers who want to camp in the winter and the wet. The cabins will likely be used by the same sort of crowd, Stein said.

But they aren't just for the people who like to camp in the middle of a storm.

"There are a lot of people who can't invest in camping equipment," Stein said. "Also, parents with young kids, their pace of life is a little more frantic. They'll have an opportunity to come down here when otherwise maybe they wouldn't."

With a cabin, all a family would have to do is pack food, clothes and bedding and they'd be ready to go.

Similar cabins have already passed the rain test at Cape Lookout State Park and Stein is confident they'll be able to withstand the wet weather here too.

The cabins will go for $76 during the summer season (May-Sept.) and for $56 during the Discovery Season (Oct.-April). For updated information after Feb.1, call 1-800-551-6949.

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