News Releases

Memorial Day weekend marks reopening of Philippi Park

Published May 18, 2016

Philippi Park, a long-time favorite recreation area on the John Day River about 3 miles southeast of John Day Lock and Dam, will reopen to yearly summer use on May 27, 2016.


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Portland District, through a new, long-term partnership with OPAL Foundation, will turn on the power and water systems, install boat docks, open the restroom/shower building and return the park to public use through the 2016 Labor Day weekend. The Corps closed the park prior to summer 2013 due to recreation budget reductions.


A boat parade from LePage Park to Philippi Park will start at 9 a.m., Friday, May 27, followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m.  The public is welcome to tour the park and enjoy a beach-side BBQ hosted by OPAL Foundation.


“Through positive collaboration with OPAL Foundation, we worked through details to improve and operate this popular destination park,” said Kevin Moynahan, John Day-Willow Creek operations project manager. “Together we now can support sustainable recreation each summer for local communities and recreating visitors.”


“We are excited to be part of opening the park to new generations of visitors,” said Darrell McSmith of Beaverton and founder of OPAL Foundation. “The Corps and the community have our commitment to maintain, preserve and enhance recreational opportunities at Philippi Park.”


OPAL Foundation, a non-profit organization comprised of individuals and organizations, will provide financial and material contributions and volunteer support to open and maintain Philippi Park each year from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends. The Corps and OPAL Foundation will conduct a range of activities and projects that support recreational opportunities and protect and preserve the archeological, natural, cultural and environmental features at the park.


Philippi Park is accessible only by boat and is located approximately 3 miles up the John Day River from its confluence with the Columbia.  Parking and boat launch facilities are available at LePage Park. For a list of Philippi Park amenities, including camping and fishing, and information on other recreation opportunities in the vicinity of John Day Dam, visit Learn about Opal Foundation at

Amy Echols

Release no. 16-021