SILVER FALLS STATE PARK, Oregon (Nov. 30, 2018) – With its successful track record of revenue growth while improving the visitor experience at the Silver Falls Lodge & Conference Center, Silver Falls Recreation Company (SFRC) recently earned the contract to manage The Ranches, day and overnight venues at Silver Falls State Park starting Jan. 1, 2019. SFRC will start accepting reservations today for next year.
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) awarded the contract after a vigorous public review process. The expanded contract with SFRC, which will soon launch a series of improvements, represents a win-win for OPRD and the community, said SFRC General Manager and long-time Silverton resident, Adrienne Blomgren.
“We appreciate the opportunity to help care for these valued public lands and facilities,” said Blomgren. “This is our sixth year as the concessionaire for Silver Falls State Park. In that time we’ve developed a great relationship with the community and have a clear understanding of what they want. This enables us continue to work with OPRD to improve and facilitate enjoyment of the park through guest service, maintenance needs, and management support. This relationship also enables OPRD the ability to focus more time and valuable resources on other critical areas of the park. We’re committed to enhancing guest experiences while balancing affordability and necessary improvements for park visitors to enjoy. We will also continue our investment in the area by expanding our community service and sustainability efforts.”
While some rates (insert link) —which hadn’t been raised in more than a decade—had to increase to cover maintenance and utilities, SFRC also added a special non-profit rate program and varied rates for different spaces, seasons, and days of the week. This combined with the new reservations system will ensure that the popular spaces remain accessible for community use throughout the year. While the new rates more closely match the current industry standard, they are still well below the current regional rates for these types of facilities, Blomgren said.
Guy Rodrigue, manager of Silver Falls State Park, said the decision to partner with SFRC was driven by the need to improve efficiency, keep pace with rising facility costs and provide great experiences for visitors.
“Transitioning management of The Ranches to a concessionaire frees us to focus on our bread and butter: managing Silver Falls on behalf of Oregonians,” he said. “We have worked with the conference center since 2013, and we are confident in their ability to offer the services and amenities customers want. In turn, park staff will have more time to dedicate to managing the trails, campground and group areas at the park.”
“Providing affordable amenities remains central to Oregon State Parks’ mission,” he continued. “As we strive to strike the right balance between service and revenue, our job will be to continue to offer a range of group options at Silver Falls and other parks in the region.”The revenue increases for the facilities, which are currently rented by 170-plus groups annually for retreats, weddings, reunions, and other events, will allow the park to provide needed repairs and improvements, including:
- Addressing immediate infrastructure needs, such as repairing and adding lighting, deep cleaning, window restoration and more;
- Groups can now book any time throughout the year for up to a year in advance (rather than the current rolling 9 month booking window);
- Groups can now place a 25 percent deposit at time of booking instead of payment in full;
- Groups no longer need to reserve extra weekdays leading up to their weekend event, freeing up space for other groups during the week;
- Improved service with staff available 24/7 for questions and assistance;
- Freeing up park staff and funds to focus on resource and visitor management in other critical areas of the park;
- Designating a portion of revenue from the ranches and conference center into a maintenance fund to maintain, improve, and restore these popular spaces on a timely basis; and
Continuing to invest a portion of revenue from the ranches and conference center back into Oregon State Parks.
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) has been using concessionaires for more than 20 years in many of its operations—a common practice among national and state parks to balance resource management and guest service. Since taking over operations of the lodge and conference center, SFRC has made great improvements to visitation, amenities, service, and food offerings in this area of the park, such as the addition of a four-person suite called Calypso Cottage that opened in 2017.
Reservations for 2019 reservations for The Ranches will open at 9 a.m. today. Due to the anticipated high volume of initial 2019 reservations for these spaces, guests are encouraged to submit an online inquiry at www.silverfallslodge.com. All phone and online inquiries will be responded to in the order received for completion of group reservations.
About Silver Falls Lodge & Conference Center
Silver Falls Lodge and Conference Center is a hidden gem inside Silver Falls State Park. Charming lodges and cabins for up to 82 guests with Oregon inspired meals. One of the leading wedding venues in Oregon, Silver Falls Lodge and Conference Center is also a renowned event and retreat venue. Located 1.5 miles from the campground off Highway 214 at Silver Falls State Park, Silver Falls Lodge & Conference Center also features a dining hall, meeting halls, recreation area, café and many activities, such as hiking, biking, swimming, lawn games and a FitKid program. www.silverfallslodge.com