The Oregon Coast Trail stretches along the entire state coastline, which stretches 362 miles from Washington to California. There are a few gaps along the way – disconnected sections of trail that pose safety concerns for hikers. Now the public is invited to weigh in on plans to reconnect the trail.
The Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation is developing a plan to connect the trail and improve access for day and transient hikers. The agency is gathering public input through an online open house on the Oregon Coast Trail website.
About half of the Oregon Coast Trail runs along sandy beaches. There are land sections through headlands, forests, rivers and even through some coastal towns.
Diane Navarrete of the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation said about 10% of the Oregon Coast Trail has gaps.
“People either have to walk along Highway 101 in dangerous conditions,” she said. “Or there’s just a gap – and you can’t get from point A to point B – and you have to find an alternate route before you can continue your hike.”
While Parks and Rec is leading the planning effort to make Oregon’s Coastal Trail continuous from border to border, the agency will work in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration, Association of Oregon Counties Oregon and Oregon Solutions.
The action plan will identify gaps in the hiking experience and determine the actions and funding needed to improve and maintain the trail over time.
Navarrete said they hope to have a suite of possible solutions to present by this spring and a draft action plan by the summer. She predicts that repairs and improvements will take years.
The Oregon Coast Trail was licensed in 1971 by the Oregon Recreation Trails Advisory Council and developed and managed as part of Oregon’s state park system.
To learn more about the Oregon Coast Trail Action Plan and have your say, visit the online Open House at bit.ly/OCTOpenHouse1 anytime through February 11 to see a project presentation and give feedback. your opinion.