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Cove to reopen camps in stages


   The Cove Palisades State Park is reopening a portion of its Crooked River campground in June.
   The 91-site campground will open in stages. The north loop opened for walk-in customers June 8, followed by June 15 for reservation customers. The entire campground will be open by July 1.
   The opening comes on the heels of a massive renovation and upgrade to the 40-year-old campground. Renovations include new paving, new water and sewer systems, upgraded electrical sites, three new restrooms/shower buildings, a new RV dump station, and a larger amphitheater.
   Forty-two sites also were reconfigured for traffic flow, and four sites upgraded for ADA accessibility. The improvements are funded largely by Oregon Lottery dollars dedicated to state parks by voters.
   "It truly is going to make for happy campers," said Dave Slaght, park manager. "Even though much of the work is literally underground, the upgrades make a huge difference in the quality of the camping experience here. Water, power and sewer systems may not sound exciting, but believe me, they are the nuts and bolts of a campground."
   The new electric service upgrades all campsites to 50/30/20 amperage, meaning that RVs large and small can make easy use of every site.
   Slaght also pointed to more visible improvements, such as the three new restroom and shower buildings, all of which are much more energy efficient than the old ones.
   He also expects campers to appreciate the new, two-lane RV wastewater dump station and a large new amphitheater, sited in a better location for programs.
   The Cove Palisades State Park sits along Lake Billy Chinook southwest of Madras. Tumalo State Park, 45 miles south, and Prineville Reservoir, 55 miles southeast, are the closest state parks that offer year-round camping.