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As It Was: Father of Oregon Parks Creates 12-mile Scenic Corridor

Oregon’s first state park superintendent, Samuel H. Boardman, envisioned a coastal park in Curry County.  He preferred a National Park, but when that wasn’t possible, he foresaw a state park, the present-day, 1,470-acre Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor.
The state acquired most of the land between 1949 and 1957, purchasing from private owners and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and receiving more than 304 acres from a British borax company.

Boardman, born in Massachusetts in 1874, came to Oregon in 1903, platted the Columbia River town of Boardman, and served as park superintendent from 1929 to 1950.  During that time, he increased the number of parks from 46 to 181, and their acreage from 4,000 acres to 66,000.

The Oregon Blue Book describes the corridor as a “12-mile, forested linear park (featuring) … a rugged, steep coastline interrupted by small, sand beaches … (that) helps to preserve some of the best of the stunning beauty of the southern Oregon coast for future generations to enjoy.”

A commemorative monument at the park’s House Rock Viewpoint recognizes Boardman as “The Father of Oregon State Parks.”

Sources: "Notable Oregonians: Samuel H. Boardman - State Parks Pioneer." Oregon Blue Book, State of Oregon, sos.oregon.gov/blue-book/Pages/explore/notable/boardman.aspx; "Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor." Oregon State Parks, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, 2019, oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=parkPage.dsp_parkHistory&parkId=56. Accessed 23 Jan. 2019.

Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP before retiring in Ashland.