From Hatfield Marine Science Center
Newport’s South Beach Peninsula has a new Tsunami Interpretive Trail
Come join a walk along it starting at Noon, February 11th at the HMSC Visitors Center
Newport’s South Beach Peninsula is a popular recreation area and home to a growing hub for marine science research and education, with waterfront access and spectacular views. It is also in the tsunami inundation zone. To help alert residents and visitors to the potential tsunami risk, an interpretive trail was recently installed along the Peninsula’s bicycle/pedestrian trail along Marine Science Drive.
The interpretive trail begins at the Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC) and continues along the tsunami evacuation route to Safe Haven Hill, at the southwest corner of the Yaquina Bay Bridge. As the closest ‘high ground’ for most South Beach Peninsula facilities and recreation areas, the Oregon Department of Transportation owned property is over 80 feet high and is estimated to accommodate several thousand evacuees. “After Japan’s 2011 tsunami, the possibility of a similar natural disaster here on the Oregon coast no longer seems so remote,” said Janet Webster, HMSC Interim Director. “Increasing awareness of evacuation routes is one of the best things we can do to help people survive a tsunami.”
Ten interpretive signs were installed on January 31, with most set at intervals along Marine Science Drive’s bicycle/pedestrian path. Additional signs were placed at the HMSC Visitor Center, marking the future site of the Japanese Dock Exhibit, and at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. According to Maryann Bozza, Program Manager at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, the interpretive signs alert those working, playing or residing in the tsunami inundation zone to the potential danger, and highlight the evacuation route to the nearest high ground. “Several of the signs are within sight of the official blue and white Tsunami Evacuation Route signs” she added, “which will help visitors not familiar with the area to orient themselves toward Safe haven Hill.”
The interpretive trail project was a collaboration between HMSC, Oregon Sea Grant and the City of Newport, with funding and expertise provided by Oregon Emergency Management. The signs highlighted the new inundation maps recently released by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, which are available in an interactive format via www.oregontsunami.org.
A community walk along the new interpretive trail is planned for Monday, February 11. The walk will begin at the Hatfield Marine Science Visitor Center at noon, and an informational session with Althea Rizzo, Geologic Hazards Program Coordinator with Oregon Emergency Management, will follow the walk in the Visitor Center Auditorium. All are welcome.