CoastWalk Oregon, a three-day walk benefitting North Coast Land Conservancy, is back for a second year on Sept. 22, 23, and 24. This year’s walk welcomes more participants and features a new route highlighting the history of the Oregon Beach Bill, which marks its 50th anniversary this year. Registration opened in February, and 20 spots are still available (of 75 total). Details and registration are at CoastWalkOregon.org.
Participants in CoastWalk Oregon 2017 will walk roughly 10 miles a day of the Oregon Coast Trail, about half on the beach and half on forest trails. Most of the 30-mile walk follows the route Gov. Oswald West took on horseback in 1911 that, two years later, inspired him to champion a law declaring Oregon’s beaches public highways. That law was a precursor to the 1976 Oregon Beach Bill, which was prompted by a Cannon Beach hotel owner’s effort to claim part of the beach for his private use.
Day One will begin in Ecola State Park, pass Cannon Beach, and end at Arch Cape. Day Two crosses into Tillamook County on a route winding through Oswald West State Park on forest trails, ending at the north Neahkahnie Mountain trailhead. On Day Three participants will summit Neahkahnie Mountain, then—after a shuttle to Neahkahnie Beach—walk the beach to the tip of Nehalem Spit, where they’ll cross the Nehalem River by boat. After a successful first year with 50 participants, CoastWalk will top out at 75 walkers in 2017.
The $349 registration fee covers wayfinding guidance, parking fees, shuttles to and from trailheads, a boat shuttle across the Nehalem, snacks, a celebratory lunch at the end of Day Three, and lots of cheerleading. Lodging and most meals are not included. Most of the registration fee represents a tax-deductible donation to North Coast Land Conservancy, which has just undertaken a project to conserve 3500 acres of forest adjacent to Oswald West State Park—a private land conservation effort unprecedented in size in western Oregon. The Rainforest Reserve, which NCLC hopes to complete within five years, will create a continuous 29-square-mile conservation corridor stretching from the ridgetops to the nearshore ocean at Cape Falcon Marine Reserve. CoastWalk Oregon participants will walk right through the middle of that corridor.