The Rose City Astronomers have established a relationship with the owner of a private airstrip approximately 8 miles West of the town of Maupin and use this site for RCA member-only Star Parties.
Warning: this is an active airstrip used by the owner often on a daily basis early in the morning, and an occasional private plane during the day. For safety of us and them, we can only locate our vehicles on the end and edges of the runaway where specified by the owner, and as communicated to members before each event.
Our host owns the nearby Walters Corner store (see map) and everyone coming to an event is encouraged to stop in and buy gas and groceries, or just say hello and thank you.
It can always be cold at night no matter what the season,
so bring warm clothing.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: contact the RCA Observing VP
New to Star Parties? Read Etiquette for Star Parties
The site is located about 100 miles (as the crow flies) from Portland and you have two routes to choose from:
1) Take Hwy 26 east over Mount Hood. About 12 miles beyond Government Camp turn left onto Hwy 216, towards Pine Grove and Maupin. About 6 miles east of Pine Grove at the intersection of Reservation Road and Hwy 216 there is Walters Corner store (a small gas station and store). Here you'll turn left onto Old Wapinitia Road and continue 2 miles down the gravel road. You will see the airstrip on the right hand side of the road, just past the Kelly Cutoff Road.
2) Take I-84 east from Portland to The Dalles and take the Hwy 197 exit south. Go through Dufur and past Tygh Valley. About 7 miles past Tygh Valley take a right onto Hwy 216. Go about 4½ miles and take the right onto the Kelly Cutoff Road. At the end of the road turn right and the airstrip is on your right.
Enter the site at one of the two entry points as indicated on the photo below.
The viewing area is adjacent to our camping area (see photo below) which is hard packed dirt, mostly level, with scattered grass that is occasionally mowed by the owner. Horizons are good in all directions. There are nearby farm houses and from certain observing locations distant lights from houses or other fixtures can be seen, though are not too objectionable.
The gravel road is used often by local residents, many of whom slow down to lower the dust when passing – others think it’s a drag strip. Car lights at night can be annoying. When we use the alternate location on the spur runway these annoyances are diminished.
Location is generally arid and can sometimes be very windy. As is typical in Eastern Oregon it is often breezy and partly cloudy during the day with the winds and clouds diminishing after sunset. In summer if our timing is wrong and there is no breeze, we could experience hoards of mosquitoes.
Don't forget to use parking lights in the viewing area, red flashlights, red covers for computer screens, etc. There is no electricity or water on site, so bring what you need. Please consider your neighbors if running a generator.
If you are in an RV or pulling a trailer please drive and park on the hard packed surface.
It can always be very cold at night no matter what the season, so bring warm clothing.
Meals are on your own. There is a small store at the gas station at the west end of Old Wapinita Road (The store is owned by the owner of the Airfield we are staying on). Tygh Valley and Maupin have grocery stores and there are a couple of cafes in Maupin.
Overnight camping is allowed on site. Tents, trailers and RVs are welcome in the designated camping area (see photo).
When dry and hot, we need to be careful about fire hazards, so please:
* * No open fires or charcoal briquettes. Propane stoves are OK if used up off the ground on a table or stand.
* No smoking on observing site. In car and on gravel road is OK.
* If driving a vehicle with a catalytic converter or very low ground clearance – proceed with caution when driving over tall grass. As a precaution, stop the car and let cool down before driving to final location and have someone walk alongside the vehicle as you drive to be on alert and ready to smother any sign of burning grass.
* Carry some jugs of water and shovel that can be easily and quickly be used to put out any fire.
* Consult with onsite RCA event coordinator before using any generators outside of a vehicle.
If there is a heavy rain event and the site is soggy, please DO NOT drive anywhere until the site has dried out sufficiently so as to not leave any ruts on the airstrip.
For scheduled star parties we will have a portable toilet on site.
There are a few motels and several restaurants in Maupin which is about 8 miles from the observing site.
Registration and reservations are not needed for this informal campout. However, if you plan on staying in a nearby motel in Maupin, be aware that they fill up quickly with the rafters.
If you have any further questions email the VP of Observing.