Tillamook OR - The Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission voted unanimously June 25 to purchase 357 acres of coastal property in Tillamook County. The site, known locally as the Beltz property, sits along Sand Lake Road north of Pacific City and south of Cape Lookout State Park. The commission's vote authorizes the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to purchase the property from Oregon-based nonprofit Ecotrust for up to $1.8 million.
The property consists of woodlands, both fresh- and saltwater marshes, dunes and oceanfront. The final purchase price will be determined by an appraisal, plus 10%, up to the $1.8 million limit, and is funded by Oregon Lottery dollars dedicated to state parks by Oregon voters in 1998 and 2010.
"There's something delightful and pure about this kind of state park," says Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Director Lisa Van Laanen. "We focus campground development on parks like Cape Lookout and Nehalem Bay, but we balance that with more natural parks that draw people close to the landscape."
"This is a significant natural property," says Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commissioner Robin Risley, who lives in Cannon Beach and serves as the 'West of the Coast Range' representative. "It's been an important estuary to preserve for decades because of its location, beauty, and natural character."
"The Sand Lake estuary is one of the most pristine, intact areas on the coast," says Jay Graves, commission chair. "These kinds of opportunities are rare, and directly contribute to the physical and economic health of the community. I'm pleased we and Ecotrust were in the right place at the right time to make this happen."
Oregon state parks in Tillamook County currently attract 1.7 million visitors, resulting in $15 million a year in local spending, and a projected $100,000 in lodging taxes from state park camping in 2014.
The department will eventually open the park after discussing parking options with the county and nearby residents, a process which could take several months or longer. More information on the property is online at http://www.oregon.gov/oprd/pages/commission-beltz.aspx