Photo: Oregon State Parks
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD), in cooperation with Tillamook County, will limit vehicles parking on the beach from Cape Kiwanda south to the Nestucca River. Vehicles involved in launching or retrieving commercial or recreational boats will be allowed to park on the beach, but all other vehicles will have to park in designated lots or parking spaces along surface streets this summer.
The change is necessary due to increased congestion on the beach posing a health and safety risk to pedestrians, and reduced OPRD state park ranger staffing available to manage the traffic. On a sunny summer day, hundreds of vehicles enter the beach through a county-owned gate and boat ramp. Both OPRD and the county agree the change is necessary.
As provided under Oregon Administrative Rules 736-024-015(2)(g)(A) and (B), and 736-021-0040(7)(a) and (c), motor vehicles will be allowed only for operating or parking while towing boat trailers or launching boats, and information on accessing the beach through the county gate can be obtained from Tillamook County Parks at 503-322-3477 or OPRD at 541-563-8506 (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.). Requests for access should be made well in advance of any trip.
Extra local parking and shuttle services are being arranged by the county, but visitors need to be prepared for the fact there will be times this summer when all parking is full. In those cases, visitors will need to divert to other destinations or return after enjoying other Tillamook County attractions.
Reducing congestion is both a short- and long-term goal for OPRD and Tillamook County.
“We want people living in Pacific City, and the businesses in south county, to succeed,” says Tillamook County Commissioner David Yamamoto. “Protecting the quality of life here means adapting to the fact more people want to enjoy what the people in PC have already discovered: this is a beautiful place.”
“Traffic patterns have grown to the point that visitor experience is now diminished and has created a very unsafe condition,” says OPRD Coast Region Manager Dennis Comfort. “I believe it is time to partner with Tillamook County to address limiting vehicles on the beach. That many cars mixed with hundreds of people is a recipe for tragedy.”
“Pacific City continues to be a destination community and is extremely popular during the spring and summer months,” says Tillamook County Sheriff Jim Horton. “We see a significant number of visitors to the area and we want to continue to work with community partners and OPRD to ensure the safety of those who live in and visit the area.”
People who aren't boating and park on the beach are subject to warnings and citations.
The restriction will only affect vehicles on the beach south of Cape Kiwanda. For the time being, barricades will remain in place at the end of Pacific Avenue near Bob Straub State Park to prevent vehicle access over the dune, but pedestrians will still be able to access the beach at that spot.