Old Stage Park on city radar

The gated entrance to Old Stage Park (above) and a view of the East Fork of the Illinois River next to the 40-acre park. (Courtesy photo for the Illinois Valley News)

The planning and funding of Old Stage Park was on the Cave Junction City Council agenda March 13 during their meeting at City Hall.
Parks & Rec Chair John Miles was in attendance to discuss Resolution 967 that is written, “A resolution authorizing Roger Brandt, acting Parks & Recreation Commission member representing the City of Cave Junction to complete the application for a local government grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to fund the creation of a Master Plan for the development of Old Stage Park and delegating authority to the mayor to sign the application.”
The resolution also states, “The City of Cave Junction will provide adequate funding for on-going operations and maintenance of this park and recreation facility should the grant funds be awarded.”
The city council approved the resolution 4-0 (Councilor Jean Ann Miles was absent). Councilor Tina Casey Jones, who participates in the Parks & Rec Commission, said, “I look forward to residents learning that the city is taking action on Old Stage Park.”
A scope of work sketch was provided by the University of Oregon, which gives an overview of the Old Stage Park. “In 2017, Cave Junction adopted an updated Parks Master Plan …it would now like to develop a concept plan for the site to guide its development in the coming years.”
The history of the 40-acre Old Stage Park, located 1 ½ miles southeast of downtown Cave Junction at the end of Old State Road, is that it was donated to the city by Josephine County around 1980.
Prior to the construction of Hwy. 199, the park served as a transportation route during the Oregon gold rush of 1851. Mining supplies were initially brought in by pack animals, and by 1857, a road was constructed to bring supplies from Crescent City to the mining towns of Waldo, Kerbyville and Jacksonville. The wagon road went through Old Stage Park and included a bridge that allowed drivers to cross the East Fork of the Illinois River. This route was used for almost 70 years until Hwy. 199 was constructed in 1925.
Since 1925, the park has been used as an unofficial swimming area for residents, but unfortunately due to the shortage of enforcement, portions of the park have been used illegally for marijuana grows and for camping/squatting for unhoused populations.
The park is currently undeveloped with one entry gate off Old Stage Road and a dirt road that leads to the East Fork of the Illinois River. There are no designated parking spaces, restrooms, overhead lighting poles or established walking trails.
U of O Institute for Policy Research and Engagement team would like to analyze the site and survey community desires by May – July 2024 and then have the final concept plans by September 2024.