Honoring the Past & Looking Ahead
Fifty years ago, a small group of concerned Oregonians protected Cascade Head. This majestic coastal headland was slated for development, but because of an organized effort by committed volunteers, it still stands proud over the Pacific.
Throughout these 50 years, Conservancy staff and volunteers have cared for and learned from Cascade Head: testing grassland restoration methods, monitoring the Oregon silverspot butterfly, removing invasive species, maintaining trails and teaching 15,000 annual visitors about the natural beauty surrounding them.
Our Cascade Head Preserve serves as a National Scenic Research Area and a United Nations Biosphere Reserve. It is a haven for rare plants, including 99 percent of the world's Cascade Head catchfly species. And, on a fall day, you are nearly guaranteed to see herds of grazing elk speckled across the headland.
Looking ahead, The Nature Conservancy plans to continue work at Cascade Head, but we are also looking beyond the preserve, up and down our state's shores and into the ocean waters. We are designing new equipment so fisherman can catch more commercial species and fewer of those that need protection. We are re-creating tidal wetlands the provide more rearing habitat for salmon and absorb floodwaters. We are protecting 122 square miles of ocean water through establishing Marine Protected Areas.
Oregon's beautiful coast, its wildlife and its fisheries need us, and we need them. From safeguarding special places like Cascade Head to transforming coastal fisheries, we are committed to the Oregon Coast for the long-haul. We’re building off past success and pioneering a future where people and nature thrive.
Dear Oregon Coast
We asked people to share why they love the Oregon Coast. Read below to see a sampling of the letters we received.
There are countless reasons why I love the Oregon Coast and Cascade Head Preserve. As a volunteer naturalist at Cascade Head over the last three seasons, the Preserve has grown to be a special and important place to me. The views from Cascade Head are breathless. I never tire of the view. I find much solitude and spiritual reawakening when I am at the coast surrounded by plants, trees, animals and the ocean. I love the smell of evergreens and the soil, the wildflowers and the ocean. I grew up a city girl, and my mother taught me to appreciate the out of doors. I truly found myself in nature and have developed a deep appreciation of the living environment around me. The first time I took a step on the Cascade Head trailhead, I was able to immediately let the sounds and smell of the forest and ocean envelope my senses and I at once felt at home again.
The Oregon coast is a bit wilder, a bit windier, at times a bit colder, and in places a bit rockier than coasts that attract more tourists. This is part of its charm. It isn't overrun, but attracts those who love it for itself, not what movies tell us we should love ocean shores for. I have been a few times, but last year my mother and I went to the quietly charming seaside town of Yachats for my birthday weekend in November. It was beautifully stormy and cold for half the trip and gorgeously bright and warmer the other half. We had both moody days and days of pink sunrises and orange sundowns with lavender-crackle-glass waves rolling. Thank you, Oregon coast. You're a gem!
When I rise the hill in Lincoln city, and the fresh, brine air hits my face, I feel the stress of life and the concept of time slip away with every breath. My eyes eagerly scan for the first sight of the sea and as it flashes in and out or my sight, the roar of the waves eclipses the sounds of traffic and I feel the primordial essence of nature filling me. My spirit rises to meet the ageless rhythm and I emotionally soar with the birds to dance through the winds. Eager to park, we take the first place available and throwing shoes carelessly somewhere in modern life, I eagerly hurry to the sands and the kiss of the tide. My cares evaporate like the slinking fog as I regress in age and feel laughter bubble through my chest and rush out my lips as the hidden child within sheds her burden of responsibility and age to see the magic of promise and endless possibilities. Remember the childlike thoughts of sea lions and still wonder if they were born knowing how to dance the ballet of the undersea forests, imagine pirate ships and pioneers seeing this coast for the first time and wonder if they feel the swell in their hearts at the artless beauty that calls like the fabled sirens, luring them on. Every moment is new, every shell has never been seen and the water will never be the same twice. I always feel a benediction and absolution when at the Oregon Coast. Renewed at the most intimate level of my soul and imagination. Its the place where sorrow is understood, joy is a natural state, wonder is encouraged and I feel the embrace of the planet I am lucky to call home, who's treasures are endless and the wild spirit is encouraged to race freely. In just minutes, we can move from forest hikes, to estuaries, to artisans blowing glass and shaping clay. Fresh bounty from the sea, kites in the wind or curled together in a snug room watching the sun or moon set making a pathway for dreams to be shared, secrets to be whispered, love to grow and dreams to bloom. When I must leave, I begin dreaming of my return.
My love affair with the Oregon Coast started many moons ago. A fourth generation Astorian, the beach has always been a special place for me and my family. Picnics, beach walks, fireworks, clam digging, surfing, tidepools, and a honeymoon. What I love about the Coast is that it's a constant in our lives; it calms us, brings us together, makes the memories that we'll never forget. We have instilled the love of the beach in our children. My son is learning to surf, my daughter must always dip her toes in the ocean when she comes home from California...we wouldn't have it any other way.
What's not to love? The beautiful scenery here is second to none. You can stand on the beach and the waves simply wash away any stress you might have. The evergreen forests, clean fresh air and beautiful streams are all here in one magnificent spot, called the Oregon coast. You can look at all of the pictures you want, yet none of them do justice to actually being here, experiencing the Oregon coast with all of your senses. The Oregon coast is what I consider to be heaven on earth.