At the time of its authorization in 1974, three state parks formed the heart of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. Although the state's priorities for park development generally lay in other parts of Oregon, it acquired parkland in the upper John Day Basin over a 40 year period. This chapter begins by outlining how two Oregon State Highway Commission members provided a foundation for the state's park system to develop during the late 1920s. In doing so, they secured establishment of an area near Sheep Rock which, for most of its existence, constituted Oregon's second largest state park. Most of the state's efforts there (and at subsequently established parks at Painted Hills and Clarno) centered on land acquisition rather than development of visitor facilities. Management of these parks remained at a minimal level, a situation which allowed state officials to eventually become cautious supporters of national monument status for the John Day Fossil Beds.
Last Updated: 30-Apr-2002