EDITOR’S NOTE: We have photos and videos showing the overcrowding, the parking issues and garbage problems, and so many reports of the rude behavior. Enough is enough. We need to take back our parks. During the Tillamook County Commissioners Leadership Team meeting this morning, Commissioner Bell urged local residents to “stay safe” and stay home, because we are being overrun by visitors. So, our local leaders are telling us to give up our access to our parks, our backyards. Then as Doug Olson in Pacific City reported, these aren’t just “day trippers” from the valley, these are visitors from all over the country. Tillamook County has been doing everything right, keeping COVID cases low, but this invasion of visitors can change all that. The pandemic has just shined a bright light on a problem that has been building for years. Be safe out there everyone! And email your county commissioners (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org) State representative – Senator Betsy Johnson (email@example.com), as well as sending information to Oregon State Parks (emails below). And please send copies of your emails, your stories and photos to the Tillamook County Pioneer – firstname.lastname@example.org – #TakingBackOurParks
By Michael Manzulli
This week Oregon State Parks had to close the restrooms at Oswald West due to overuse. If you have driven by our coastal State Parks or been brave enough to try to visit them this summer, you know that ever since reopening they have been a nightmare.
Living in Arch Cape, I have to choose between driving through the Oswald West or the Hug Point gauntlet to get essential services. Highway shoulder parking for what feels like miles, beach goers literally walking down the middle of the highway, people opening up their car doors on blind turns to pull out their coolers and children are just some of the things I have personally experienced.
With limited State Park staff to clean up, there is toilet paper on the trails, garbage overflowing from cans, and beaches with crowds that resemble Los Angeles. I had no idea a pandemic would result in such overuse and lack of respect for our local communities. But here we are and what can we do about it?
I believe parking needs to be enforced and the numbers visiting the parks capped. This is likely a joint effort between State Parks, ODOT, and law enforcement, but please start by contacting State Parks. Our local rangers and managers are doing all they can. The folks in Salem need to hear from coastal locals that we not only can’t access and enjoy our backyards, but we don’t want to kill someone driving by the parks.
Oregon Parks & Recreation Department contacts: