Land swap would bring golf course, remove state park land

BANDON, Ore. -- The Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission met on Tuesday to discuss a proposed land swap between the state and golf course developer Mike Keiser.

The commission is considering the proposed land exchange between the corporation Bandon Biota and 280 acres of Bandon State Natural Area.

Negotiations have been going on for years. "We wanted it to be a fair trade," said Chris Havel of Oregon Parks & Rec. "Not just from a monetary perspective, but from the value of the state park system that the public of Oregon enjoys."

According to the state parks and recreation department, the exchange would include additional ocean front property in Bandon and in Lincoln County, along with 6,000 acres of land in Grant County for a future state park. "On top of all of that, $300,000 of gorse control, which is very important to us on the south coast," Havel said. "All of those things show more value to the state park system than what we're losing in that 280 acres out of the park system."

Bandon Biota owner Mike Keiser's plan is to build an affordable public golf course.

Hank Hickox, the general manager at the Bandon Dunes, says he likes the idea. "Mr. and Mrs. Keiser have always been very good about taking care of the place where they do business," he said. "It's been to the benefit of the staff and the community."

Havel says he realizes some may not like the idea of taking land out of the state parks. "There are people that are concerned about property leaving the coastal state park system, no matter what the benefit is, and those are valid concerns," Havel said.

Representatives say public comments are encouraged at their meeting on Wednesday morning. It will be at 8:30 am, at the Red Lion Hotel in Coos Bay.