Author Archives: the Oregon State Parks Team

Will the Oregon Coast Trail be the next Oregon Scenic Trail?

Oregon Coast Trail in Oswald West State Park

The Oregon Coast Trail crosses Cape Falcon in Oswald West State Park. Neahkahnie Mountain is in the background.

Oregonians know why the coast is featured in The 7 Wonders of Oregon promotion — besides taking in the breathtaking scenery, we love to explore and enjoy the beach whether tidepooling, beachcombing or hiking. The Oregon Coast Trail is a stunning 382-mile hike along the beach, threading through forests and climbing up and over headlands. Whether you make the entire trek or hike 2-3 miles of the most scenic portions, the experience is classic “Oregon.”

Oregon Scenic Trail sign

Oregon Scenic Trail sign.

Do you think the trail should be named an Oregon Scenic Trail? The scenic trail designation would promote the Oregon Coast Trail as among the elite trail experiences our state offers. Signs acknowledging the designation would be added at trailheads.

Share your thoughts at two open houses. The first meeting is April 1 (6-7:30 p.m.) at the Coos Bay Library, 525 Anderson Ave. A second meeting is set for Lincoln City, April 9 (6-7:30 p.m.) at the Driftwood Public Library, 801 SW Hwy 101.

The Oregon Recreation Trails Advisory Council will use your comments to guide their recommendation to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission. For more information or to comment on the proposal, e-mail or call Rocky Houston, state trails coordinator, (503) 986-0750.

Let’s Go Camping — mastering tent basics

Let's Go Camping logoYes, your family will practice guiding poles through a tent, but Let’s Go Camping offers so much more. You’ll learn from the pros and meet some great people around
the campfire.

We provide the sleeping bags and tents for your weekend outing. Park rangers and volunteers will teach you how to build a safe campfire, offer tips on maintaining your gear and introduce you to Dutch oven cooking.

This summer 12 state parks are hosting Let’s Go Camping sessions (see list below). Registration is $30 per family. Decide on a park and then call or e-mail Reservations Northwest, (888) 953-7677 to register, or to ask for more information.                      


Tryon Creek Trillium Festival celebrates Spring

Native and hardy plant sale
April 5-6, 10 a.m.-4 p.m

Ready to bring Spring into your yard? Come to Tryon Creek’s native and hardy plant sale for vine maple, red flowering currant, salmonberry, Indian plum, Oregon grape, ferns,  irises and wildflowers. Gardeners can choose from a large selection of trilliums–an early season favorite.

If you would rather look at flowers than plant them, join a guided nature hike hosted by Friends of Tryon Creek volunteers and park rangers. Learn about the value of native plants and how best to care for them at gardening presentations. The festival also includes local craft and garden art vendors.

The festival is free. Tryon Creek is just minutes from downtown Portland so parking at the park is limited, but parking with free shuttle service is available at Griswold Stadium (located just north of the park on Terwilliger Boulevard and Palatine Hill Road) on the Lewis and Clark Campus.

Tryon Creek State Natural Area (park info and driving directions)


Western snowy plover nesting season begins

Western snowy plover nesting

Western snowy plovers

Nothing says “Oregon” like heading out the door to the beach. It’s a year ‘round thing to do here. Our state parks are scattered up and down the 362-mile coastline in a breathtaking series of roadside viewpoints, open vistas, lighthouses, campgrounds and wide, sandy beaches. The entire shoreline is really one big state park, with its own imposing name—the Ocean Shore State Recreation Area.

It’s a big beach, and in mid-March, one tiny resident makes an appearance all along the west coast. We’re talking about the western snowy plover, a small native shorebird that lives a somewhat difficult life these days. It’s a protected species under the federal government’s Endangered Species Act.

State Parks partners with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and other land managers, like the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the US Forest Service, to help protect the bird. Plovers nest in dry open sand, in tiny, shallow scrapes that are very well camouflaged. Not only are nests easy to miss (or step on), but the bird will abandon its eggs if repeatedly disturbed by activities it considers a threat—activities we may see as harmless, like walking a dog or flying a kite.

Western snowy plover nesting sign

During the plover nesting season, March 15-September 15, you may see signs or fences to let you know about any seasonal recreation restriction.

In some places—where  plovers are actually known to be nesting, dogs are not allowed. In other places, dogs will be allowed, but must be on a leash. Overall, though, plover “management areas” make up only about 50 miles of that 362 mile shoreline we all love so much. Maps of all areas can be found here:

No plovers currently nest on the north coast, but we’re extending a bit of a helping hand in three places this spring. Visitors will need to leash their dogs during the nesting season on part of the Clatsop Spit along the Columbia River South Jetty; the tip of Necanicum Spit, adjacent to the town of Gearhart in Clatsop County, and the southern part of Nehalem Spit in Tillamook County.  Driving, which is already prohibited on the Nehalem and Necanicum Spits, will also be prohibited on a short stretch of Clatsop Spit east of the Columbia River South Jetty.  Driving to the popular fishing spot known locally as “Fishermen’s Beach” on Clatsop Spit will go on unchanged.

Necanicum beachgoers will see a new trail to the beach, thanks to the hard work of Americorps volunteers, the City of Gearhart, and state park rangers.

Want to know more about western snowy plovers? Maybe help out in some way? Go to  and subscribe! You’ll be the first to hear about volunteer opportunities as they come up.

Keep your focus on the ocean

Oswald West State Park - Short Sands BeachAre you going to the Oregon coast for Spring Break? Logs, powerful waves and unaware beach goers combined can end up as a dangerous situation.

Take a look at the following tips to keep you and your family safe on the beach.

  • Keep one eye on the ocean so your aren’t surprised by bigger waves surging high on the beach. Sneaker waves are unpredictable and very powerful.
  • Stay away from logs on the wet sand or in the surf. These logs can weigh several tons, but only a few inches of water can move them. The ocean is strong enough to pick up even the biggest log and roll it over you.
  • Know when the tide is coming in. Nothing ruins a day of tide pooling quicker than being stranded by the incoming tide. Get a tide table from a state park ranger or many businesses along the coast.
  • Be careful on cliffs and rocks. The power of the ocean can erode cliff sides, making them unstable. Stay on marked trails and don’t climb over fences, which are there for your safety. Don’t dig into cliffs or hillsides.