'I don't have to wear clothes to fish. That's kind of unique'

'I don't have to wear clothes to fish. That's kind of unique' »Play Video
David Strahan took KVAL News to visit Glassbar Island by boat, the only legal way to access the park

EUGENE, Ore. - The new No Trespassing signs on Lane County property have David Strahan all worked up.

"That seems to be the easiest knee jerk answer to them," said Strahan, who described himself as an open access activist. "We'll put some no trespassing signs up, and then nobody can go up there."

The signs mean foot access to Strahan's favorite park has just been cut off at Seavey Loop.

River access is still allowed however, and Strahan took KVAL News by boat to visit Glassbar Island, state-owned land in the Willamette River.

The trip isn't exactly easy, but it's legal.

Strahan has been coming here since the 1980s, putting in countless volunteer hours picking up trash and keeping invasive species at bay.

"I can stand there and fish all day, and I don't have to wear clothes to fish," Strahan said. "That's kind of unique in the state."

Clothing-optional since the 1960s, Glassbar Island Park has picnic tables, barbecues, posted park rules - even a bike rack, a curious feature at a park restricted to river access.

"During the Fourth of July, you'll have anywhere from 100 to 150 people out here just to come hang out," Strahan said.

But Strahan said most of those people will have to find somewhere else to go now that the area is restircted only to river access. Paths across county land are closed.

"I think the people who use the park, the people who volunteer hours here, should have say in it," Strahan told KVAL News, "and so far we haven't."

Why did the county put up the signs?

"As far as I know, Glassbar Island park, which is a state jurisdiction, has been a river-access park since the day it was created," said Sid Leiken, chair of the Lane County Commission.

Leiken said the county is now enforcing no trespassing along foot-access points in order to secure a grant to restore the area to a natural state. 

Bonneville Power Administration offered Lane County and other landowners the funding opportunity that the county said will help "rehabilitate the land and protect if for future generations at no cost to Lane County taxpayers."

A county spokesman said access to the county owned property will be closed for a period of 10 years.

"So, we're not trying to cut off access to people," Leiken said. "They have access."

But only if they have a boat.

The Lane County Commission is holding a public meeting on Glassbar Island on March 19 at 9 a.m.