While we’ve always loved adventuring in Oregon’s great outdoors, a few years ago our family decided to go on a different type of adventure.

We became a certified foster family, choosing to care for babies alongside our own children.

Shortly after we were certified, we discovered that Oregon State Parks provides a Special Access pass for foster families.

We’ve had our Special Access pass for four years, and we renew it each time our foster care license is renewed. In that time, we’ve used it at several state parks for free parking and once at a state campground for half-price camping.

Green 2017 Oregon State Parks Special Access Pass

Most recently, we took it with us to Jasper State Recreation Site, an almost hidden park along the North Middle Fork of the Willamette River, southeast of Eugene. It was a sunny Sunday after a long stretch of cloudy days and kids with colds. We were looking for an easy outing that was stroller-friendly to accommodate all five of our kids. Jasper State Recreation Site was perfect. Hardly anyone around on a February day, just a few people walking dogs. Our kids played on the playground for a few minutes, and we explored the park from one end to the other, including all of the picnic shelters and a spot where the camp host lives during the summer.

Jasper State Recreation Site

Jasper State Recreation Site

The Special Access Pass for Foster, Guardian & Adoptive Foster Parents of Oregon Foster Children is intended to give foster families a chance to explore Oregon and have fun. We’ve certainly put ours to good use and we’ll apply for it again after renewing our foster care license later this year. If you’re a certified foster parent for the state of Oregon or a guardian or foster-adoptive parent, then your family is eligible to receive the special access pass. All you need to do is mail a copy of your certification to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. More details are found on the Oregon State Parks website.

These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

About the Author: Heather Hicks

Heather Hicks and her husband are parents to five children, ages 1-11. They love exploring Oregon and finding adventure with all the kids in tow. Heather writes about their travels at OregonOutdoorFamily.com, where she encourages families to get outside and go!

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