Corps makes new changes to camping along Columbia River

Published Oct. 29, 2020

Beginning Nov. 1, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will close all primitive camping areas for the season at The Dalles and John Day dams. These closures are part of a new camping policy the Corps is implementing this year.

This closure will continue through March, with primitive camping scheduled for reopening April 1, 2021. All areas will remain open for day-use and river access. Seasonal closures at LePage Park, Plymouth Park and Philippi Park Campgrounds remain unchanged.

In addition, The Wall at The Dalles and Biglow Canyon River Access, Cliffs Park, Railroad Island Park and Rock Creek Park at John Day will no longer permit overnight camping starting Nov. 1. All details are posted on park bulletin boards and may be reviewed online at:

“A seasonal closure of dispersed camping will greatly improve your park environments and allow recovery of damaged landscapes, natural areas and repair of facilities,” said Melissa Rinehart, Portland District chief of natural resource management.

These changes are the result of planning efforts including a Recreation Strategic Plan in 2011 and the completion of the Mid-Columbia River Regional Master Plan. Both plans identified management changes to camping as critical in achieving sustainable recreation and resource protection.

The closures will provide the Corps opportunities to make park improvements, reduce costs for removal of debris and abandoned property, improve public and staff safety, increase partnership with local law enforcement, and improve protection of park resources.

Year-round day-use and seasonal camping continues to be an option at various Corps -managed locations in the Columbia River Gorge:

Camping is limited to 7 days within a 30 consecutive day period at Corps-managed primitive camping areas within The Dalles and John Day management areas. The 7-day limit also applies to boat-in campground Philippi Park.

The 14 day limit within a 30-consecutive day period at developed campgrounds (LePage Park and Plymouth Park) remains unchanged.

Current recreation site status and updates can be found on the Portland District website at

Stay current with the Portland District by visiting our website at: or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, @PortlandCorps.


Tom Conning

Release no. 20-144