Discussion of Do’s and Don’t on the Oregon Coast tonight in Newport, tomorrow night in Cannon Beach!
Oregon Parks and Recreation personnel invite everyone to discuss new rules that will soon pertain to what they call “common sense” use of Oregon’s fabulous beaches. All 360 miles of them from Brookings to Astoria. Parks spokesman Chris Havel says there have always been rules in the past but every now and then they update them just to keep them as relevant as possible; to enable everyone’s enjoyment of the coast but with an eye to preserving our beaches and protecting cultural assets that are scattered along it.
Havel says new rules will cover special events like weddings. If it’s just the couple, a minister and a photographer, no problem. No permit required. But when it gets to enough people where you’ve got a gazebo, plastic chairs and a small crowd of people, you’re basically taking over a part of the beach that others now cannot use or enjoy. So Havel says, “please come and talk to us and help us ensure you pick a place that’s good for you as well as others who are visiting the beach.”
The new rules cover other activities like agate collection. A gallon a day per person is likely to be the legal limit. And for agate collectors, you know a gallon a day is very seldom even possible if you’re going for the good stuff. Havel says agates are deposited on the beach by wave action all the time so there is enough for everyone. He says the Parks and Recreation Department definitely discourages commercial collection activities.
Other events like organized jogging marathons or other fundraisers, you’ll need a permit based on the number of entrants. Again, it conflicts with normal beach visitors and his department wants to ensure that the exact layout of the run is least intrusive for regular visitors.
For beach visitors with dogs, you’re expected to keep your dog on a leash, or if off a leash, under your voice control. If you’re dog doesn’t come when you call it, it’s to remain on a leash. And if your dog does “his duty” on the sands, you must have a device such as a plastic bag, to remove the excrement immediately. Same for cats.
Bonfires are allowed, but try to keep them within a “three by three by three” configuration and keep them away from any large piles of driftwood. If you burn pallets, make sure the nails are removed before they’re burned, otherwise, you are required to dig’em out of the sand. Normal campfires are unregulated but don’t leave them unattended. And of course, when done either with a campfire or bonfire, make sure the fire is dead out.
Havel says the rules are meant to be “common sense” understandable. They’re intended to ensure everyone has a good time at the beach. Tonight’s public input meeting at the Newport Recreation Center begins at 7pm. In runs through 9pm. Then tomorrow night the Parks and Recreation Department will wrap up their series of coast public hearings with a final public input meeting at Cannon Beach City Hall, at 163 E. Gower Street, 7pm to 9pm, in Cannon Beach.
Public comment period will remain open until February 6th after which staff and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission will finalize the updated rule book. Formal adoption is expected by early April.
By the way, anyone who is holding any kind of special event on Oregon Beaches can access the rules as they currently exist (and eventually the new ones) on the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department website at oregon.gov/OPRD or by calling 800-551-6949