written by Lindsay McWilliams | map courtesy of eclipse2017.org
Oregon campgrounds across the center of the state will open for reservations this week in preparation for the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017. Starting on Thursday, November 17 at 12:01 a.m., campsites in the eclipse’s “path of totality” will open for reservation—and they’re predicted to fill up within hours.
The path of totality is a 60-mile-wide path across the center of the state, moving from west to east, in which viewers will be able to see the moon completely block the sun. In Oregon, the path starts on the central coast between Newport and Lincoln City, moves through the central Willamette Valley, and sweeps along Madras, John Day, and into Idaho near Ontario. More than twenty campgrounds are located within the path of totality for prime viewing.
The total solar eclipse in August can only be seen in the United States; the last time our country saw an eclipse like this was 38 years ago, in 1979, during which the weather made it almost impossible to view. A total solar eclipse is a rare occurrence in which the Earth, Moon and Sun line up directly, casting a shadow on our planet. Being in the dark part of that shadow (the path of totality) ensures that you will see the total eclipse (weather permitting).
When making a reservation, keep in mind that while many campsites are in the path, many have tall trees or features that could potentially block your view of the eclipse. Choosing the most open site with clear views of the the sky will be preferable. Oregon scientists have noted that Madras might be the best place to view the eclipse, as the sky tends to be free of clouds in this central area.
Also, while most campsites will take reservations starting on Thursday, some will continue with first-come, first-served policies. Check individual park websites for full details.