Tuesday, September 21, 2010

News From Beaver Creek State Natural Area

A recent article by Lori Tobias, in The Oregonian tells us two important events for the Beaver Creek area.  On October 1, 2010, there will be a grand opening ceremony for the State Natural Area.  The ribbon cutting is at 11 am, with activities running until 1 pm, including refreshments and music at the new Welcome Center.  Parking is at Ona Beach State Park, with shuttles to the Welcome Center.  The second significant milestone is the announcement by State Parks spokesman Chris Havel, of the pending acquisition of 583 acres of timberland, adjacent to Ona Beach State Park, that will be developed over several years into a new coastal campground.  The land was planted 15 years ago as a mixed coastal forest and overlooks the lower Beaver Creek marsh, including marsh owned by Wetlands Conservancy.  This new acquisition by State Parks is an important continuing investment in the conservation of the Beaver Creek watershed.
Neighbors in the Beaver Creek valley have been nervous about all of the attention, increased visitors, and possible disruption to the beloved valley they call home.  Rumors  have confused the purpose of the State Natural Area, suggesting that it will be developed into a campground.  Such development is not a part of the Natural Area plan.  Natural Areas are set aside in a world program that aims to keep wildness available in our common heritage.  These areas are specifically reserved from development and may include trails and signs to educate and guide visitors.  In Beaver Creek, the visitor by boat leaves only footprints of ripples on the water.      
With the new State Parks land acquisition, plans for a campground should begin to emerge and show how increasing visitor traffic to the Beaver Creek area can find a temporary home without impacting the valley and its residents.  This new campground will be near the ocean, marsh, and forests; yet set aside from them in a respectful distance that invites interactions with nature.  Access to the campground will be from Hwy 101 and near Seal Rock.  While we residents value the peace, quiet, and isolation of the Beaver Creek valley, I feel that it is important to entertain visitors from around the world, so that they can experience the magic of this place and take that experience home with them, to light fires of imagination and inspiration in their lives and hearths.  We can trust in the power of nature to sooth the traveler’s spirit and to refresh their senses.  They can emerge from a paddle on the creek or a hike in the fields and forests of Beaver Creek with a renewed sense of their place in wildness and their responsibility to these places.  Wildness gives us the undefinable sense of well-being that is essential for our common survival. 
Posted by michael


Chris Havel said...

Nice post. Protecting Beaver Creek and preserving its tranquility are both important to us, too. The (newest) new property next to the highway and Ona Beach would allow us to talk about modest camping in a way that complements Beaver Creek, but even that kind of low-impact idea would first go through substantial public involvement to come up with actual design plans. Hope everyone enjoys the new natural area. Saw several egrets while paddling yesterday.

-- Chris, Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept.

Anonymous said...

Are the funds for the purchase of these lands from the park or watershed accounts? If park funds, then we should have the campground. That is what we voted for.