Even though several significant paleontological finds had previously been made around Clarno, this area did not interest the state until the early 1960s.  At that point the proposed park's rock formations, not its fossils, took center stage because of their proximity to State Highway 218. As a result, the state targeted only 100 acres for this park and saw it as little more than a wayside.
The possibility of acquiring a 22 acre parcel by donation appears to have given preliminary park planning some impetus in 1962.  On July 11, 1963, the Frank W. Lee family donated this tract with two conditions. In addition to installing a bronze plaque to Lee's memory within the parcel, state officials also agreed to "Clarno State Park" as the park's official name. 
The state once again utilized the Recreation and Public Purposes Act in negotiating a twenty year lease of public domain land. Located west of the donated parcel, this 40 acre tract cost the state $50.00 every five years in rental fees beginning January 20, 1965.  Nine months later, state parks officials bought land located between the leased tract and the donated parcel.  After paying the holder $760.00 for 38 acres, the state had a park which one writer described as being "geared to the pleasures and fascinations of geology as well as recreation." 
Last Updated: 30-Apr-2002