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The People's Coast

01.08.18

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The People's Coast

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  • Views over the Pacific from a viewpoint along the Tillmook Head Trail in Ecola State Park.- The People's Coast
  • Waves breaking on the decommissioned Tillamook Rock Light offshore from Ecola State Park.- The People's Coast
  • Shelters at Hiker's Camp along the Tillamook Head Trail in Ecoloa State Park.- The People's Coast
  • Short Sand Beach in Oswald West State Park.- The People's Coast
  • Surfers at Short Sands Beach, Oswald West State Park.- The People's Coast
  • View from Cape Falcon toward Neahkahnie Mountain (1,680 ft).- The People's Coast
  • Summit of Neahkahnie Mountain (1,680 ft).- The People's Coast
  • A kite surfer at Manzanita Beach.- The People's Coast
  • View looking north from Manzanita Beach toward the base of Neahkahnie Mountain.- The People's Coast
  • Sun sets over the dunes at Nehalem Bay State Park.- The People's Coast
  • Sea anemones, sea stars, and an array of intertidal sea creatures at Hug Point.- The People's Coast
  • Netarts Bay from the top of a dune on Netarts Spit.- The People's Coast
  • Looking toward the town of Netarts and the bay from Netarts Spit.- The People's Coast
  • Looking south toward Cape Lookout in Cape Lookout State Park.- The People's Coast
  • Hiker and biker camp, Cape Lookout State Park.- The People's Coast
  • Campground cabins at State Lookout State Park.- The People's Coast
  • View from along the Cape Lookout Trail, 400 feet above the Pacific.- The People's Coast
  • View of the Cape Kiwanda headland from Pacific City.- The People's Coast
  • Cape Kiwanda and Haystack Rock.- The People's Coast
  • Waves rolling into Cape Kiwanda.- The People's Coast
  • Surfer at Pacific City, Oregon.- The People's Coast
  • Sunset at Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area.- The People's Coast
  • View north to Cape Lookout from Cape Kiwanda.- The People's Coast
  • Neskowin's Ghost Forest and Proposal Rock in the background.- The People's Coast
  • The outgoing tide sweeps over a petrified tree stump below proposal rock at Neskowin Beach.- The People's Coast
  • The Waldport docks in Alsea Bay are popular with boaters and crabbers on a Sunday afternoon.- The People's Coast
  • Devils Punchbowl.- The People's Coast
  • Main access onto Yachats Ocean Road Beach.- The People's Coast
  • Sand art on Yachats Ocean Road Beach.- The People's Coast
  • Tide pools at Yachats Ocean Road Beach.- The People's Coast
  • View north from the Heceta Head State Scenic Viewpoint of Heceta Head Light.- The People's Coast
  • Heceta Head Lighthouse.- The People's Coast
  • A colony of California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) just below the Heceta Head State Scenic Viewpoint.- The People's Coast
  • The Hobbit Trail emerges onto the beach with southern views of Heceta Head.- The People's Coast
  • Heading out to go crabbing on Winchester Bay.- The People's Coast
  • Junction for the full Oregon Dunes loop trail.- The People's Coast
  • Shore Acres State Park.- The People's Coast
  • Simpson Beach, Shore Acres State Park.- The People's Coast
  • The botanical gardens in Shore Acres State Park.- The People's Coast
  • Bullards Beach at sunset. - The People's Coast
  • Sea stacks and dunes at Bandon State Natural Area.- The People's Coast
  • Cape Blanco Lighthouse.- The People's Coast
  • Cape Blanco.- The People's Coast
  • Wave action from the north beach in Sisters Rock State Park.- The People's Coast
  • Sisters Rock from the highway just south of the entrance.- The People's Coast
  • A couple strolls along Pistol River North Beach in the early morning.- The People's Coast
  • Magnificent views to the north along the Cape Sebastian Hike.- The People's Coast
  • Hunters Cove on the Cape Sebastian Trail Hike is popular with surfers.- The People's Coast
  • Long exposure of Natural Bridges taken after sunset.- The People's Coast
  • Labyrinths in the sand below Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint.- The People's Coast
  • Intimidating sea stack south of Thunder Rock Cove in Samuel Boardman State Scenic Corridor.- The People's Coast
  • Natural arch in Thunder Rock Cove.- The People's Coast
  • Large and whimsical sea stack at Natural Bridges in Samuel Boardman State Scenic Corridor.- The People's Coast
  • From the Cape Ferrelo Trail, Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor.- The People's Coast
Article
Team

Oregon’s coastline is well known for its dramatic scenery; a landscape of rocky headlands, forested capes and picturesque coves interspersed with sweeping beaches and coastal rivers draining watersheds both large and small. 

Lesser known, however, is the story behind Oregon’s unique coastal public access. Oregon's coastline, it turns out, is a coastline reserved for the people. What does that mean exactly? It means that all of us, both Oregonians and visitors alike, have legal public rights to access all of Oregon’s beaches along the state’s 363 miles of coastline.

In fact, Oregon is home to the only ocean-adjacent public coastline in the country. (Texas’ coastline is also public, but for beaches along the Gulf of Mexico). The public rights, along with a robust network of coastal state parks that afford easy access to some of the more rugged and scenic coastal stretches, truly sets Oregon apart as a destination for coastal outdoor recreation.

As an homage to the public nature and spirit embodied by the Oregon Coast, we are excited to share The People’s Coast, the second video in a three-part series highlighting the exceptional diversity of outdoor recreation opportunities awaiting you in Oregon. Created in partnership with Travel Oregon, Outdoor Project, Outlive Creative, Oregon State Parks and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, The People’s Coast takes viewers on a cinematic excursion to a handful of Oregon’s coastal state parks while introducing a sampling of the outdoor adventures one can find both within parks and beyond.

Oregon’s Beach Bill

The Beach Bill established public rights and access to all of Oregon's beaches. Photo by Jesse Hazleton

So where did this vision for a public coast originate? In 1913, Oregon’s beaches were established as a public highway by the state legislature. The establishment of Oregon’s beaches as a public right-of-way, and thus the notion of a “public coast,” was readily adopted by Oregonians. As a destination, Oregon’s coast quickly became a beloved resource for it’s scenic beauty and recreational offerings.

A half-century later the recognition and understanding of the public coastline came to a head when a beachside hotel owner sectioned off a portion of the the beach in front of his motel, claiming it as private property. According to the Oregon Historical Society/Oregon Encyclopedia, the 1913 state legislature had reserved only the wet sand portion of the beach as a public highway/right-of-way. Many coastal property owners still had deeds with rights to develop areas that were off the wet sand. In response to this, and inline wth the steadfast public sentiment that had grown over the previous 50 years maintaining Oregon’s beaches were indeed reserved for the people, a piece of landmark legislation known as the Beach Bill was passed in 1967. Championed by then Governor Tom McCall, the Beach Bill officially established public rights and access to Oregon’s beaches and coastline. The new legislation applied to the beach area from the ocean up to 16 vertical feet above the low tide line, or where vegetation began, “declaring free and uninterrupted access” of Oregon’s beaches for the people.

Thankful for State Parks

Soaking in the twilight views at Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor. Photo by Patrick Mueller.

The Beach Bill is only part of The People’s Coast story. Serving public access in tandem with the Beach Bill, Oregon is home to an impressive network of coastal state park sites, which includes state parks themselves, as well as state recreation sites, state natural areas, state scenic viewpoints and state scenic corridors. Over 75 state park sites are situated along Oregon’s nearly 400 miles of coastline; that works out to roughly one state park site for every 5 miles.

Oregon’s coastal state parks and related infrastructure – the trails, roads, parking areas and campgrounds - within them, are a central piece of the public access story. Without the parks, many of Oregon’s most scenic and wild coastal stretches and landmarks would be extremely difficult to access. We can thank Oregon’s state parks for enabling much of the coastal recreation accessible today.

Oregon’s coast is a coastline for the people. Not only is it strikingly scenic and rich with outdoor recreation, it’s also reserved for the public. That means for you and for me. We hope The People’s Coast inspires you to find adventure along the Oregon coast soon. Learn more about the activities and locations featured in The People’s Coast in the adventures  below and by visiting traveloregon.com, oregonstateparks.org and myodfw.com.

 

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314 Adventures Explored
306 Adventures Published

Published in collaboration with Travel Oregon

So you're interested in Oregon. Chances are you're ready to hike the trails, sip craft beer and chow down on a farm-fresh feast. But let’s not get too caught up in the hype: When you dig a bit deeper, you learn there’s even more to this wild and wonderful state. Start exploring and plan your next trip at Travel Oregon.

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