By Laura Swanson
Here we are again … the warm weather hits and visitors swarm the beaches, bays and rivers. And it’s already happened – yesterday afternoon at Tolovana, just north of Tillamook County. Four teens went into the water and only three came out. The Coast Guard is still searching for another victim. There have also been reports of a hiker and dog down a cliff at Ecola today. Summer is here and a steady stream of visitors has already been pouring in; the Pioneer has been advocating for beach and trail safety programs, outreach and education for a decade. Sure there’s some messaging (but not enough – there should be more) – and this weekend the focus as been on water temperatures (which are unseasonably cold in the Metro area, on the Sandy and the Clackamas); the water temperature of the North Pacific is always bone-chilling, and the rip tides, rogue waves and so much more are always here. As the talking news heads say “Go to the Coast to cool off …” That should include warnings about not swimming in the ocean, wearing lifejackets, and again, so much more.
So, here is a reminder from our Spring videos, some great tips and the best advice from the people that are rescuing those that don’t heed the signs, follow the advice or don’t think it applies to them. Enjoy the wonderful, amazing North Oregon Coast outdoor adventures, but please read the signs and please respect the fences, barriers and recreate safely, so you can come back to enjoy the coast again and again. And these folks don’t have to risk their lives to save yours … bring your common sense and keep safety in mind. Thank you to our first responders!
By Robin Swain
Videographer: Don Backman
Tillamook County offers a diversity of outdoor recreation — Rivers, Bays, Lakes, Beaches, Hiking Trails and so much more. The excitement of getting away and enjoying the great outdoors can lead to forgetting the simplest rule, ALWAYS BE AWARE and PREPARED! The number one rule is to always let someone know where you will be, and your estimated time to complete your adventure. Then check-in with them to let them know you are done and ok.
Tides affect all our waterways, even the lakes. KNOW THE TIDES. The current of outgoing tides in the bays of Tillamook County are swift and strong and can easily take you out to sea. Spring river flow is also swift due to the volume of rain and snowmelt. For water activities, always wear a well-fitting, Coast Guard approved, Personal Floatation Device, (PFD) whether you are boating, kayaking, hiking or walking on the beach, can happen quickly. Wear appropriate clothes and footwear for the activity, dress in layers. The water temperatures are cold year-round here. We are always in Rogue wave season, and the old adage “never turn your back on the ocean” always appplies. It is a good idea to have children wearing PFD even when you are beachcombing. And adults, too, if you are planning on swimming in the ocean. None of our beaches are “swimming” beaches – there are no lifeguards on duty, and the rescuers are volunteers.
STAY OFF THE LOGS. It only takes about an inch of water to move a massive log. You do not want to roll with one of those.
Kayaking has picked up in popularity. There is more to it than just buying a kayak and heading out. It is highly recommended that you kayak with a qualified guide to learn about the waterways in Tillamook County. Especially since we have such strong tidal influences. Kayak Tillamook County is happy to answer any questions you might have.
If an area has fencing and signage that says, DO NOT GO BEYOND THIS POINT, DANGER! It means just that there are no exceptions. Turn around and go back. Stay on designated, marked trails.
We are glad you are here enjoying all we have to offer in Tillamook County, we want this to be a happy experience loaded with awesome memories for you, your family and your friends. Make it happen by being safe in your outdoor adventures.
We would like to give a big thank you to: Nehalem Bay Fire & Rescue, Garibaldi Fire & Rescue, Rockaway Beach Fire & Rescue, Netarts-Oceanside Fire & Rescue, Bay City Fire & Rescue, Kayak Tillamook and Josh Uitof, Mary McGinnis; Sandy Johnson; Nestucca Valey Fire & Rescue, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and Tillamook Fire & Rescue.