County, Corps to work on new boat ramp at Foster

Linn County and the Corps of Engineers will begin researching a site on Foster Reservoir for a new boat ramp, the county commissioners and Corps officials said Wednesday.

Linn County Parks Director Brian Carroll said Friday that he is optimistic the two groups can work together to site another ramp on the highly popular body of water.

“We’re thinking that Caulkins Park (at the junction of Quartzville Road and Highway 20) may be the best site but that’s not for sure,” Carroll said.

Carroll said the move comes after Corps officials and county commissioners met to discuss the issue.

“We’ve been very busy this year,” Carroll said of park usage. “We’ve been so busy in fact that we haven’t had time to add up the numbers yet.”

Carroll said the parks department has looked for increased access to the lakes for years.

“There have been times when the Corps wasn’t as receptive to the ideas as they are now,” he said.

He said Corps Project Manager Wade Stampe seems receptive of the project, recognizing how much the Willamette Valley has grown in terms of population and recreation usage.

The next step is locating a suitable ramp site, Carroll said. That means working with the State Marine Board or a private engineering firm.

“It cost $250,000 to add the lower water ramp at Thistle Creek on Green Peter,” Carroll said. “We aren’t talking about dealing with steep terrain here, so it should be much less.”

Finding a ramp site that will also provide suitable parking area will be a trick, Carroll admitted.

“That’s one of the big issues on both lakes,” Carroll said. “There just isn’t enough parking for any of the boat ramps.”

Currently, the parks department oversees ramps at Sunnyside and Gedney Creek on Foster Reservoir and Thistle Creek and Whitcomb Creek on Green Peter.

“The goal is to allow people to move on and off the reservoirs as efficiently as possible,” Carroll said. “You don’t want people to site for a hour or 90 minutes before they can get on the water. It ruins their recreational experience.”

Carroll said the current boat ramps are 30-40 years old and were built when lake usage was far less than it is today.

“We’re probably talking about building in phases,” he said. “There are many issues to consider in addition to just building a ramp, such as parking, dockage and waste.”