OUR VIEW: Camp host a good idea

By Observer editorial April 11, 2014 07:26 am
Morgan Lake is a cleverly hidden La Grande gem.

It’s so cleverly hidden on top of the mountain just a few minutes’ drive from downtown La Grande that vandals and other troublemakers are doing significant damage out of sight but not out of mind.

The La Grande Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission has recommended a camp host to help deter the illegal activity. They’re thinking a camp host would cost about $6,500 a year, and of course money in these tough budgetary times is always an issue, with budgets already strained. Still, it would be money well spent to protect the investment the city has made in the lake.

Vandalism hurts everyone. The motivation for vandals is a mystery, and fighting vandalism can be frustrating. For example, during the fire prohibition season, signs have been posted that say no campfires. Vandals have used those signs to start campfires.

Other problems include trash that causes a blight on the landscape, illegal wood cutting and people camping over the allowable limit of seven nights per visitor.

A camp host could pick up trash and prevent some problems that are currently marring the beauty of Morgan Lake. Cleaning up signs of vandalism as soon as they occur is known to help prevent future vandalism.

The city has gone to a lot of work to make Morgan Lake more enjoyable to the public. The improvements include a new restroom, a small floating dock next to the boat launch and four fishing piers on the south end of the lake. Walking paths and camping sites have been upgraded to provide more enjoyment for campers and nature lovers.

Morgan Lake is the closest place to camp, fish and hike in nature near La Grande. No motors are allowed on the lake, so it provides a quiet respite from the noisy world below. We need to do everything we can to keep Morgan Lake beautiful for future generations to enjoy, and a camp host would go a long way toward making that happen.