Three Rivers Recreation Area, Oregon Real Estate Find your perfect home in Three Rivers Recreation Area!
The Three Rivers Recreation Area is a gated, unincorporated community located in Jefferson County on the southern side of the Metolius arm of Lake Billy Chinook (not to be confused with Three Rivers South – near La Pine). It shares the 97734 zip code with the city of Culver and the smaller, unincorporated communities of Opal City and Grandview. The current Three Rivers Recreation Area is a 4,000 acre gated community that dates back to the mid-1960s. There are approximately 625 property owners, of which about 90 live in the area year-round.
About one-third of the community is common area for residents and guests. While the area has recreational zoning, it is not a resort in the same way as other central Oregon resorts because the entire development is completely off-grid. There are no telephone lines, power lines, community water, or sewer system. For power, homeowners rely on generators, wind turbines, and/or solar panels. For the most part, water is trucked into individual cisterns (there is a local delivery service in the community), though some owners have opted to drill deep wells. Other property owners have installed propane gas. Phone service is cellular and internet & TV is by satellite dish.
The rules & regulations governing home design in the 3 Rivers Recreation Area are also much more relaxed than those of other resort areas. Because of this, the homes vary greatly in size and construction. It is not unusual for a manufactured home to have a large, custom-built luxury home as a neighbor on one side and an A-frame or unoccupied shop on the other.
Community amenities including a volunteer fire department, marina, recreation hall, the Big Canyon Gun Club shooting range, a 9-hole dry desert golf course (with 18-holes of disc golf), a 5,000-foot airstrip (2,500 feet paved), and miles of ATV trails. The “Three Rivers” in the name is in reference to the rivers that feed Lake Billy Chinook: the Crooked River, the Deschutes River, and the Metolius River.
Some owners live there full-time. Others maintain vacation homes there. And some have purchased vacant lots to camp on. Despite those uses and the amenities within the community, short-term rentals are strictly prohibited in Three Rivers Recreation Area and visitors are limited to friends and family of owners.
There is also a persistent myth that the off-grid homes in Three Rivers Rec Area are not financeable. This is actually false. Many of the homes will actually qualify for loans. Where you will run into financing issues is when the home lacks plumbing, heating, or some other essential component that makes it less than typically habitable. While there are certainly weekend cabins in the community that don’t have plumbing and/or an H.V.A.C. system, they are not necessarily the norm.
Three Rivers Recreation Area Links
Homeowners Association (Facebook) | Big Canyon Gun Club (Facebook) | Lake Chinook Fire & Rescue (facebook) | 3 Rivers Recreation Area Airport (AirNav | VFR map) | Seattle Times feature | Madras Pioneer feature
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