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The mission of the Parks and Recreation Department is to provide and protect outstanding natural, scenic, cultural, historic and recreational sites for the enjoyment and education of present and future generations.
The department operates Oregon's state parks through a headquarters staff in Salem and field regions. It is also responsible for Oregon's Recreation Trails, the Ocean Shores Recreation Area, Scenic Waterways and the Willamette River Greenway. The department was created as a branch of the Highway Department in 1921. The 1989 Legislature created a separate Parks and Recreation Department, effective in 1990. Oregon's state parks are among the most popular in the U.S: their combined day-use and camping attendance of 39.6 million visitors (2001) consistently ranks the system among the ten most visited in the nation.
OPRD's Heritage Programs Division, which includes the State Historic Preservation Office, Heritage Commission and the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries, operates a number of cultural and historic preservation
Department activities are funded primarily by state park user fees, Oregon Lottery dollars, and recreation vehicle license fees.