Private and Public Policy Reviews for the Disabled

Milo McIver State Park Campground

By Stephen Rex Goode, BSW

Milo McIver State Park in Oregon is a popular recreation area near the town of Estacada. The park lies along a sizeable stretch of the Clackamas River and is one of the most beautiful parks you’ll ever see. More than merely beautiful, there are diverse things to do and enjoy at the park. It boasts boat ramps onto the Clackamas River, a disk golf course, program areas, group campgrounds, horse trails, bikeways, and a bat trail.

It’s campground is full nearly every weekend beginning in the spring through the fall. It closes in the winter. Camping at McIver State Park is a great and relaxing experience, even for people with mobility issues.

Of the fourty-four regular camp sites, one is designated for disabled use. Site number 10 has features making it a good experience for people who have mobility devices (mobi’s) or have difficulty getting around.

I spoke to a park ranger who said that they expect that people using the site will have a state-issued parking permit for disabled people. States other than Oregon are recognized.

If you plan to use it, get there by 7:00PM. If it is not taken by a person with a qualifying permit by that time, it will be available to others. Remember, though, that the park fills up and the spaces are reservable online. See the park’s web page for information. Generally, it fills up well in advance for weekends. During the warmer parts of the year, the weekdays also fill up quickly.

I did not reserve Site 10 for my visit there. I wish I had. Even though I get around with a cane when I have to walk far, I was reticent to take the site from someone who had a mobility device. It turned out that no one used site 10 the two days I was there. It definitely had some useful features for me.

Whereas most sites in the park are dirt, site 10 is paved and bricked for easy access to mobi’s. pic_0044



For me, the best feature, and the one that made me wish I had reserved it, was the elevated fire pit. I could have pulled up a chair and built a fire without having to bend way over to the ground. I would have save a lot of misery and pain. This is a great idea!pic_0046

On the down side, Site 10 has a couple of problems that the engineers didn’t foresee.

  1. The water spigot is located on dirt, not easily accessed from a mobi.pic_0041
  2. The electrical hookup is also located on dirt.
  3. The waste water receptical is on dirt and set back away from the road.pic_0040

Site 10 is conveniently located near the restrooms and showers. It is, in fact, the closest site to the building.

The restrooms have a disabled placard next to the door. It seemed to me that the angles, weight of the door, and positioning of the stalls were all less than optimum for a wheelchair or mobility device. Not being in one myself, I couldn’t say for certain.pic_0050


Never fear. There is a very nice shower/restroom specifically designated for disabled people.

I spoke to a park ranger about it. He told me that the biggest problem they have with it is that everyone wants to use it. They have a dilemma there. They don’t want to lock it, because that would add a burden to people who want to use it legitimately. Yet, if they don’t lock it, anyone can and does use it.

Since I have issues standing for a long period of time without a cane, I used the facility. It is well built. There is a toilet, a shower with a seat that lifts up, a removeable shower head, a sink, a mirror, and a sturdy bench of ample size.pic_0035pic_0036pic_0034

I had some problems with it.

  1. The door is metal and sturdy, which is no doubt a must for the weather conditions and security. However, I found it to be heavy. It might be a problem for some to open it. An automatic door would solve that.
  2. When I went in there, I turned on the shower to give it a chance to warm up. That got my feet wet. I was still wearing my shoes. I looked down and I had muddied the floor. With my back problems, I was fairly hopeless to clean it up well. I put some paper towels on the floor and tried to wipe it up with my feet. It worked, but it was a lot of pain.
  3. The shower had one of those seats made of wooden slats. I hate those. Not trying to be indelicate, but it pinches your bum pretty hard when you stand up. I think that the people who designed those never had to sit on them. It doesn’t matter whether they are made of wood or plastic. The slats hurt to sit on.
  4. The hot water spigot in the sink is one of those that you push to start. It lasts about two seconds and stops. It takes a lot of pushing it to get it hot enough for shaving. Since there’s no seat in front of the sink, I had to stand there a long time leaning on my cane and pushing that faucet button before I could shave.

I saw what the ranger meant. While I was inside, someone kept practically running by it and trying the door. I kept hearing footsteps making the rounds between the women’s restroom and the disabled shower. When I finally emerged, she was waiting for me. I heard the footsteps running around. This was not a person who had trouble with mobility. When she saw my cane, she walked away. I’d bet she went back later.


I like to keep my recommendations fairly cheap and easy to accomplish. There are probably some more expensive remedies to the problems I noted. I don’t think these should be too difficult or costly.

  • In Site 10, pave the areas around the water spigot, electrical hookup, and waste water reciptical.
  • Fix the hot water spigot in the disabled shower/restroom so it runs for more than two seconds.
  • Outside of the disabled shower/restroom, put one of those shoe brush things so people can wipe the dirt off of their feet before going in. In fact, this would be a great idea for the other restrooms and showers. I noticed that they’re always muddy too.
  • Replace that awful seat in the shower/restroom with a more solid surface, i.e., no slats.
  • When someone checks into Site 10, offer them a key to the disabled shower/restroom. If anyone else wants one and has a state disabled parking permit, they can get one too. Don’t be too stringent about this. As a provider of services around activities of daily living to developmentally adults, I have clients who need an attendant in the shower. The tiny shower stalls meant for everyone else won’t facilitate that. Just keep the thing locked and give out keys,with a deposit maybe, to those who need them. Shame on anyone who needlessly uses facilities meant for disabled people.


If you are in the area, do visit Milo McIver State Park. It’s a wonderful experience. The facilities for disabled people are superior. The park is really great. Thanks to the staff and hosts! They were terrific!

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