A Greater Applegate’s Park Enhancement Programs and its partners envision a stimulating park experience for visitors of all ages, while maintaining the vitality of the park through restorative practices and enhancement projects. While Cantrall Buckley Park is now a Jackson County park and no longer under the management of A Greater Applegate, we have continued to work with the county and other partners to enhance the park experience. Recent projects have included a solar array, new benches and signage, and installation of Cheryl Garcia Art in the Park. Projects have been put on hold during the pandemic but will conclude in 2021.
One of the most noteworthy improvements is the installation of the Solar Array. A Greater Applegate (AGA), in collaboration with Jackson County Parks, received an $89,530 grant from Pacific Power’s Blue Sky program to install a 23.4 kilowatt solar array. The array is now generating electricity for the park and sends any surplus electricity back to the county power grid. This array helps Jackson County Parks become a more sustainably operated county park system, while also providing a welcome shade structure for park users. Incorporated into the space is an educational component, enabling guests at the park to learn about the benefits of sustainable solar energy. Park supporters are grateful for the funds provided by the Blue Sky program that helped to make this project a reality. Steve Lambert, Jackson County Parks program manager, says, “My thanks to AGA for all the assistance in the creation and installation of the educational display kiosk.”
The sundial replicates ancient models and uses the same scientific processes as the Greeks, Babylonians, and Egyptians thousands of years ago. The interactive sundial engages park visitors as gnomons—the projecting pieces of a sundial that show the time by the position of their shadows—as they cast their own shadows onto locally positioned numeric tiles. The accompanying educational pedestal and sign offer fun facts, information, and instructions on how to use the sundial to tell time.The design, construction, and installation of the sundial were made possible by generous donations from the Oregon Community Foundation, the Carpenter Foundation, private donors, and the time and talent of our local artists and volunteers, including Bert Bouler, Jeremy Criswell, Audrey Eldridge, Cathy Rodgers, and Lydia Shockey—under the leadership of Janis Mohr-Tipton, AGA’s Park Enhancement Program chair.
The park is adorned with multiple new benches where park visitors can sit, relax, watch the children play, or just enjoy the river flowing by. Three of the benches were made by students in the Grants Pass High School metal fabrication class, and several benches recognized some very generous community members who have passionately given of their time and expertise over the years.
Art in the Park
Art enthusiasts are delighted to see the numerous sculptures in the Educational Sculpture Art Walk series installed near the river. Cheryl Garcia, our very talented Jacksonville artist, completed the first awe-inspiring metal rendition, “The Mock Orange,” In the Fall of 2018. This spectacular 12-foot sculpture depicts the large and beautiful white blossom of this tender but tough native species. Calling it a “mock orange” might seem strange, as there is nothing orange on this plant whatsoever, but its soft, slightly sweet scent with a hint of orange blossom gave it its name. Watch the video to see how the Mock Orange sculpture was created:
Cheryl has installed eight more sculptures and the final two will be completed in 2021. Each sculpture is accompanied by an educational sign and pedestal to inform park visitors about the characteristics of these important native species—which can be enjoyed both through the artistic displays and, for the patient and discerning park visitor, in actual sightings in the park.
Cantrall Buckley County Park offers our community a wonderful spot to picnic, play, hike trails, or just relax. This 88-acre park has 1.75 miles of Applegate River frontage and is open year-round from dawn to dusk. Parking/day-use permits are $4. The park is located at 154 Cantrall Road in Ruch, seven miles west of Jacksonville. For more information, visit jacksoncountyor.org/parks/Day-Use/Cantrall-Buckley.