Storm Damage Causes Closure of Old Growth Big Cedar Trail Boardwalk in Rockaway Beach

By Robin Swain

High winds from the storm that hit the Oregon Coast December 27, 2022, wreaked much damage in Rockaway Beach and the rest of the county. Downed trees across power lines throughout the county had many sitting in the cold for 24 hours or more.

Dan Emerson, Superintendent of Public Works for the City of Rockaway Beach, tells us, “We have recent storm damage to our famous Old Growth Forest Boardwalk. We must close the Big Cedar Old Growth trail due to the significant damage to the Boardwalk. Three trees came down damaging the boardwalk. There was no damage to the Big Cedar or the viewing deck, however, the Osprey tree did come down in the storm. We have contacted the original contractors that built the boardwalk for repair estimate and timeline. Tree removal estimates are being sought as well. We will keep the community updated on the progress of repairs and of course, the re-opening of our beloved Big Cedar Trail.”

Bill Hassell, who has provided us with photos of the damage to the trail, said, “I know people will be upset about the Osprey Tree, but the reality is this, storms are Natures way of maintaining the forest. The Osprey tree has been dead for about 30 years and the fact that the ivy was about 15 feet from the nest, the osprey would have been moving to safer place anyway. The osprey will rebuild their nest, this is all normal.”

Unfortunately, the Osprey tree did not survive. The ivy created too much of a wind load. The tree was about 85ft tall and likely dead for the last 3- years. It was home for ospreys for most of that time.
Here is a photo of the osprey tree from last year; and with chicks in the nest.