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Disappointed in Ashland, Lithia Park, Emigrant Lake CG

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Sacramento, CA
Level Contributor
4 posts
2 reviews
Disappointed in Ashland, Lithia Park, Emigrant Lake CG

I absolutely love Oregon, and, having heard good things about Ashland, was looking forward to spending the weekend there with my family, camping at Emigrant Lake CG.

First off, I was shocked at how hot it was-- hotter than Sacramento this weekend. It was hard to escape the heat, especially on the parched hills of Emigrant Lake campground, so, we made our way down to Lithia Park. It is a beautiful park-- lots of trees, a nice creek, walking paths. But it didn't take us long not to feel welcome there, or in Ashland itself. My son & his friend rode their longboards down the street that borders the park, on the edge of the street, and were immediately stopped by a park cop telling them they couldn't ride boards "in" the park. My husband & I began walking our dogs on the paths in the park, and were immediately told dogs were not allowed in the park, but that we could walk them on the street that borders the park. I understand dogs not being allowed-- especially when many folks don't pick up after theirs, and seeing a doe & her 2 fawns in the park, I can see where they don't mix. So we split up, my husband walking the dogs on the periphery of the park, while I walked with the kids through the park. My hub took the dogs to the little square downtown, to sit down & wait for us. He was told there, "Dogs aren't allowed in the square or downtown". While walking through the park, I noticed signs that said, "no bikes, etc., etc. etc.", and that, when parking at the edge of the park, you must park forward, not backward. In addition to being turned off by all these rules that put a sour note on any fun to be had, there were many, many homeless-looking people hanging around, not only in the park, but in town. The town was crowded-- very busy with many tourists. Crowds at 100 degrees aren't my cup of tea.

When my husband & I met up later, we sat on the grass by the road at the edge of the park with our dogs, and the same park cop came up and told us our dogs were not allowed there, despite them being on leash, sitting down quietly next to us. Again, I understand dog rules, but I didn't feel welcomed, nor did I enjoy my visit to Ashland. As I told the park cop, "I"ll go back to Bend."

Eugene, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Eugene, Springfield
Level Contributor
6,752 posts
146 reviews
1. Re: Disappointed in Ashland, Lithia Park, Emigrant Lake CG

I'm sorry you didn't find Ashland the charming village many of us love. There was, apparently a couple of basic problems. One was the weather. It does get very hot in that part of the state during the summer. Not sure who you want to blame for that. It was 101 in Eugene yesterday. Should I write a letter of complaint to someone?

And there was obviously also a culture clash. Most people go to Ashland for the theater and the dining. Longboards and dogs --- while perfectly OK in many places -- just don't fit the motif. Especially if the town was full to capacity with tourists, as you say, there is probably more enforcement of the rules than there might be in, say, February.

Not sure what your expectations of Ashland were. I don't remember you asking us on the forum what we thought about you riding longboards in Ashland or taking your dogs to Lithia Park. I think a few of us might have tried to discourage you from doing so. Please return some day and take in a play or two, have a fine dinner in a nice restaurant and take time to shop along the main avenue and plaza. I think you'll find it a much more enjoyable experience.

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
Level Contributor
42,655 posts
1,027 reviews
2. Re: Disappointed in Ashland, Lithia Park, Emigrant Lake CG

Skateboards are not allowed on sidewalks (or streets!) in many small towns in Oregon. I'm sure your boys are very polite, but most of the skateboarders that I see are not.

You yourself mentioned the reason Ashland must have rules to keep order -- it is VERY busy with both tourists and locals. It is small and very congested, parking can be a nightmare.

It's too bad you didn't check either here or on an online weather site. Southern Oregon is nearly always very hot in the summer, although Ashland tends to be a bit cooler than Medford.

"Homeless-looking people"? Hmmm, I don't visit there in the summer, but I don't recall seeing any at all. Old hippies, yes. New-agey, crystal waving woo-woo young hippies, yes. Sloppily dressed college kids, yes. A few farmer/rancher types, yes.

But it's *very nice* that you enjoyed some of your trip, as you stated in your other post:

"My husband & I had a fabulous week last week hiking to see waterfalls along 138. BLM has a nice pamphlet that outlines them. Our favorites were Clearwater Falls, Toketee & Fall Creek Falls."

Sacramento, CA
Level Contributor
4 posts
2 reviews
3. Re: Disappointed in Ashland, Lithia Park, Emigrant Lake CG

We didn't go to Ashland for Ashland-- we went to drop our son off for OSU's Sea Camp program, and had our full family with us, which includes dogs. I don't blame anyone for the weather, why would I?! I was just surprised, and think people should know. Heat is a deal-breaker for many.

As for the longboards, it was on a quiet street, no one around, no big deal, except for "dont' let anyone have any fun in Lithia Park-cop".

Please don't be offended by my experience. I'm just sharing my disappointment in my day in a new place that I expected to enjoy.

Sacramento, CA
Level Contributor
4 posts
2 reviews
4. Re: Disappointed in Ashland, Lithia Park, Emigrant Lake CG

Thanks for your reply & noticing my positive comments on our trip 2 weeks ago. I didn't have a choice of when to be there, just needed to be there at that time, & did check the weather forecast, and just couldn't believe it would be hotter there than in Sacramento!

BTW, even the 'park cop' referred to the "all the vagrants sleeping in the park".

Spend a lot of time in OR, & as I said, love it, which is why I was surprised.

Eugene, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Eugene, Springfield
Level Contributor
6,752 posts
146 reviews
5. Re: Disappointed in Ashland, Lithia Park, Emigrant Lake CG

We haven't been to Ashland in the past year (altho will be going thru there in Nov.), but I do remember a lot of street corner handout seekers. Just about every city through the I-5/Willamette Valley corridor has homeless individuals and families. It's just a fact of life, unfortunately. For some, they are Oregonians down on their luck; others find their way here because it's a nice place to live.

I would think downtown Sacto and Old Town Sacto have their share of homeless, as well. Unless Arnold has found a way to Terminate them.

Oregon/Washington
Destination Expert
for Portland, Sunriver
Level Contributor
10,115 posts
89 reviews
6. Re: Disappointed in Ashland, Lithia Park, Emigrant Lake CG

Glad you were able to enjoy some of your time:) I haven't spent time in Ashland in ages, so can't comment on any of that.

But yes, it was hot over the weekend, all up and down the I-5 corridor. We were in Eugene on Sat. and it was 102.5 in the shade. Too stinkin hot for my tastes, lol.

Poppa--Thanks for the laugh:)

Renton, WA
Level Contributor
3,101 posts
7. Re: Disappointed in Ashland, Lithia Park, Emigrant Lake CG

Check the topography. Ashland and Medford are in a bowl...expect heat in the summer. Sacramento is in a very long and wide valley.

Ashland
1 post
8. Re: Disappointed in Ashland, Lithia Park, Emigrant Lake CG

The homeless looking people are actually homeless people. Nice to see a torist with open eyes who can see them.

Thank you for the critique, a lot of local residents would fully agree with you.

Ashland, Oregon
1 post
9. Re: Disappointed in Ashland, Lithia Park, Emigrant Lake CG

I know this is an older thread but I just had to reply.

I have been a resident of Ashland off and on for the last 15 years. In that time the whole culture of the town has shifted dramatically. Wealthy retirees attracted to the vibe of Ashland have moved here and created a whole string of rules outlawing what made it special in a lot of ways. The park is an extremely beautiful and potent place that attracts all kinds of interesting people.

Unfortunately, over the years Ashland, and the park in particular, have become known as a great place for homeless people to spend summers "spanging" (spare some change?) money off wealthy tourists and taking advantage of the bounty of drugs available here. I would say half of them act harmlessly while the other half create a lot of problems in the park and on the plaza. Most all of them are only here in the summer months as Ashland has around 15 year round homeless.

The full time homeless are actually very respectful and consider Ashland their home....they are just houseless and wish to remain so. The other group of transients are the ones responsible for all the restrictions being applied and the attitude of the police and park patrol.....and it sucks.

Here is a website that epitomizes their specific culture if you want a clear picture: http://www.squattheplanet.com/index.php

To the woman who started this thread I would say Ashland has some glaring problems with the way they deal with these issues. It is all about money and appearances to the city government, which is pretty typical. They don't really care about their legitimate homeless they just want them gone and to pocket your tourist dollar. I would visit in the spring or fall and spend summertime in Bend where it's really nice and more real.

Eugene, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Eugene, Springfield
Level Contributor
6,752 posts
146 reviews
10. Re: Disappointed in Ashland, Lithia Park, Emigrant Lake CG

No profile. No posting history. No tourism tips. Not sure if this is an appropriate posting or not. At this late date, seems like someone with a political axe to grind.

Nothing said here would discourage me from spending a weekend in Ashland, regardless of time of year.