South Deschutes County’s bustling resort community of Sunriver has come a long way in less than a lifetime.
Despite the tranquillity of the area, Sunriver’s population fluctuates wildly throughout the year. An estimated 3,000 residents live in Sunriver year-round, according to the Sunriver Owners Association (SROA), but during the peak of the summer tourist season, the area can host close to 20,000 people on some weekends.
And its popularity is no mystery. Located near world class golf, fly fishing, whitewater rafting, hiking, biking and skiing, the area has much to attract visitors.
Today, Sunriver is an unincorporated community governed and operated by the SROA and supported by membership dues. Sunriver has its own water, sewer, police and fire departments, an airport, a shopping mall and depends heavily on tourism as the basis for its economy.
The Sunriver Nature Center is located on seven acres near Lake Aspen, and features native plants and animals on the center’s grounds, and indoor exhibits show the natural and human history of the area. An observatory with a 20-inch telescope, as well as a “Starport,” is also part of the center.
Where today you find vacationers and retirees basking, golfing and rafting in the pine filtered sun, only 60 years ago you would have a bunch of less-happy campers: Army grunts.
The area was the site of Camp Abbot, a World War II training facility designed to train combat engineers in a simulated combat environment.
By June 1944, the camp was abondoned and most of the settlement razed. The Officers Club has been preserved and renovated and is now known as the Great Hall.
The appropriate name for Sunriver was selected by developers John Gray and Donald V. McCallum. Condominiums were built in 1968 in conjunction with the completion of Sunriver Lodge, and in 1969, the master plan was completed and developers began selling lots.
Central Oregon Visitors Association
661 SW Powerhouse Drive, Suite 1301, Bend, OR 97702
Sunriver Area Chamber of Commerce