Monday, January 22, 2007


Our Open Coast

The entire length of the Oregon Coast is open to the public. That's some 350 miles. In California, only about 90 miles out of more than a thousand miles of coastline are owned by the public. Governor Oswald West persuaded the Oregon Legislature in 1913 to make the beaches public property. Governor Tom McCall brought about legislation in 1967 that guaranteed that the beaches would remain forever accessible to anyone. You can't climb across private property to get there if the owner doesn't want to let you, but once you're on the beach, you can wander anywhere you like.


Some 300 million citizens now inhabit the United States. That's about 150 million more people than in 1945, the year I was born.

In the summer, when I look at the pristine beaches from a viewpoint north of Florence, they seem like a mirage. How could they be so empty with that many people in the country? California alone has 36 million.

Maybe, since they can't be owned, they'll stay that way, thanks to the foresight and courage of our forebears.

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