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Location Location Location Portland 99W





Lincoln City





art of being in the right place at the right time. At



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Table of Contents Tillamook Tillamook Cheese Pacific City The Happiest of Trails Lincoln City Surf's Up Depoe Bay Beaches We Call Our Own Newport Take a Hike! Toledo Thriving Art Scene Waldport Come Play on Alsea Bay Yachats Happy Trails Florence Visit Florence Things to Do

A Publication of the

4-7 4 8-10 8 12-13 12 16-17 16 16-19 16 22-24 22 26-28 26 30-33 30 34-36 34 38


James Rand

Advertising Contacts Barbara Moore Teresa Barnes John Anderson Krisstina Borton Donna Stricklan


Steve Card

Copy Editor

Monique Cohen


Nancy Steinberg Rachel Russell Dennis Anstine Ariana Morris Rick Beasley Michael Gibbons Jo Wienert Ray Lusson Cal Applebee Digital Dunes Photography


| Central Oregon Coast Passport is published twice a year by theNewsTimes. All rights reserved, material may not be reprinted without written consent from the publisher. Central Oregon Coast Passport makes every effort to maintain the accuracy of information presented in the magazine, but assumes no responsibility for errors, changes or omissions.

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831 NE Avery St. Newport, OR 97365 • 541.265.8571

Photo by Jo Wienert 3


Paddling off into tillamook cheese Satisfying Cravings for Over 100 Years

By Nancy Steinberg


ost of us really don’t understand the food production process. We know, vaguely, that chicken nuggets come from a bird, peaches come from a tree, and milk comes from a cow. But we don’t know much beyond that, and sometimes we don’t want to know (see the aforementioned chicken nuggets). Much nutritional philosophy posits that we would be healthier if we did know exactly where our food comes from, how it is processed, and how it gets from farm to plate. In the interest, therefore, of furthering your family’s food IQ (and having nothing to do with the free samples, of course), take a free self-guided tour of the famed Tillamook Cheese Factory in Tillamook. Here you can gain a better understanding of how that sharp cheddar or sweet cream butter goes from the cow to your table. Along the way, you’ll also learn more about this successful company and an important facet of the history of the Tillamook

community. Dairy cows have been chewing their cud in Tillamook County for well over 100 years (currently, there are nearly as many dairy cows in Tillamook County as there are people – about 24,000 cows and 25,000 residents!). As coastal residents know all too well, it can be difficult to grow most crops here, but grass grows like crazy, providing plenty of fodder for cows. The first commercial cheesemaking operation in the county opened its doors in 1894, and the industry grew exponentially from there. In 1909, ten creameries got together to form the Tillamook County Creamery Association, a farmer-owned co-op, which now operates the Tillamook Cheese Company. Currently more than 100 dairy farmers are members of the co-op, which imposes high quality standards on the local industry and helps with marketing as well. Tillamook continued on page 7 5

Tillamook continued from page 5

The Tillamook Cheese Company now produces an astounding 167,000 pounds of Tillamook cheeses every day. In addition to their famed cheese, Tillamook also produces ice cream, butter, yogurt, and sour cream. The company had been forced to downsize in recent years due mainly to the high cost of shipping products to and from the remote Oregon coast, but Tillamook is still a critical player in the local and regional economy, posting revenues of $477 million in 2011. Tillamook products have racked up a mountain of awards, including three best-of-class awards at the 2013 United States Championship Cheese Contest for their colby jack, sharp cheddar, and vintage white extra sharp cheddar varieties. The tour and visitor center attract about a million visitors every year. On the second floor of the factory and visitor center visitors can learn about the cheesemaking process and the history of the co-op at interactive kiosks. For example, why is a sailboat the symbol of a creamery? (Some of the original dairy farmers that formed the co-op built the boat to ship their products to Portland). How do the cheesemakers “sharpen” cheddar? (The longer a cheese is aged, the sharper it becomes.) More questions and answers await at the factory. Visitors can also get a birds-eye view of the production floor, where the cheese is processed, packaged, and tested for quality control. At the Tillamook facility the focus is “loaves,” the industry term for blocks of cheese; shredded and sliced cheeses are processed elsewhere. If you go during weekday business hours or before 3 p.m. on weekends, you can see the mesmerizing packaging line chugging away, wrapping up cheddar or Monterey jack for shipping. These loaves could be going anywhere. Tillamook

cheeses are sold in all 50 states, with one critical exception: the only place to get the famed Tillamook squeaky cheese curds is right at the factory, so make sure to take some home. Free samples of Tillamook products are offered on the tour, but by the end you’ll be hungry for more than one taste at a time. Make sure to visit the factory store to get your fill. Also featured is a Tillamook ice cream stand, the only place in the world where you can choose from every single flavor of Tillamook ice cream. For more sweets, the fudge counter entices, with nearly 30 varieties of fudge made with Tillamook butter. If you are feeling the need for an actual meal, take a seat at the Creamery Café, where the menu, of course, features Tillamook products including perhaps the best grilled cheese sandwich ever. So scoop that ice cream, spread that butter, grate that cheese: now you know where they come from as well as how delicious they are.

When You Go: Tillamook Cheese Factory 4175 Highway 101, Tillamook 503-815-1300 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Labor Day through mid-June) 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Mid-June through Labor Day) 7


The Happiest of Trails

Ride Horses on the Beach in Pacific City, No Cowboy Boots Required By Nancy Stei


Photo by Ariana Morris


unday morning in Pacific City, and the coastal fog bank showed no signs of letting loose its grip on the beach. It was beautiful -- still and warm -- but I was hoping for sun. My family had arrived a bit early to take a guided horseback ride on the beach with Green Acres Beach & Trail Rides. My husband and I sipped our coffee, watching for signs of blue skies, while our eight-year-old son, Sam, tossed a tennis ball around in the dunes in Bob Straub State Park. Resigned to a more typical coastal summer day at the beach, we headed to the Green Acres corral adjacent to the park and awaited assignment of our mounts for our beach ride. While we waited, we wandered among the stalls admiring the horses, and optimistically donned sunblock. Kids ran from horse to horse giving them carrots. Before even touching a saddle, we had a short riding lesson from our guide, Terri Gann, one of the owners of Green Acres. Lesson number one: hold onto the reins at all times. “See this?” She asked, gesturing to the saddle horn. “If I could saw all of these off of our saddles, I would. It will not help you to hold onto it!” she exclaimed with a smile. We learned, sans horse, how to tell the horse to stop, to go, and to turn. Then it was time to put it all into practice. My husband was on a stout quarter horse named Charlie. Sam mounted Foxy, and I was given Sadie, dappled brown and white. All three were

as gentle and beautiful as can be, clearly responsive to the reins but also so accustomed to this trip that the reins were hardly needed. Depending on a child’s ability and confidence level, kids’ horses may be tethered to the guide’s, but Sam didn’t need to be, and rode solo for the entire adventure. Terri took the lead and our second guide, Ariana Morris, a 2013 Newport High School graduate who will be heading to Cornell University in the fall to study animal science, brought up the rear, One by one we (by which I mean the horses, who did all the work) summited the dunes right behind the corral to begin our ride. As we rose over the dunes, a miracle occurred: the obstinate fog had retreated, and we were granted one of the most gorgeous, clear, warm, still days I have ever experienced at the Oregon coast. The view from the top of the dune, with beach grass tickling the foreground and monumental Haystack Rock towering offshore, was nothing short of spectacular. The azure sky put Haystack Rock in such stark relief that it almost looked twodimensional, a photo studio backdrop. The first part of our hour-long ride was on the beach, just at the surf line. The horses seemed content to take a walking pace, which suited my lack of experience just fine. Those with more riding experience, or with a more adventuresome spirit, could perhaps go faster. But at this pace we could take Photo by Rachel Russell 9

in the whole breathtaking scene: pelicans soaring low across the water, boats zipping every which way, sparkling surf rolling ashore. Every once in a while I leaned over and gave Sadie a pat on the neck to thank her for a job well-done. Truth be told, with no riding experience at all horses are a little intimidating to me, but I felt completely at home and comfortable on Sadie’s broad back. I asked Terri whether horses have personalities like dogs do. “Absolutely,” she replied. “We get to know those personalities really well, and work with them as the animals are trained.” Sadie is a little feisty, a little pushy: she knows just where she wants to be relative to the other horses in our group, and she has been known to kick a horse behind her with her powerful rear leg to maintain that pecking order. Foxy is sweet and totally dependable – she is often assigned to children to help them gain confidence. Charlie, much like my husband riding him, likes to be part of the group but needs his “alone time” too. Every so often my husband, who took riding lessons as a kid, nudged Charlie to trot to catch up to us. After a time we cut up to the dunes in Bob Straub State Park and rode a trail there, traversing the back dune environment. Terri told us about the park and its history while the horses continued apace, nibbling the foliage as they went. We dropped once more to the beach, where nothing, not kites, not barking dogs, not trucks driving on the beach, spooked the steady horses. Back at the corral we dismounted and realized how sore we were all going to be later. I heard complaints from muscles that I never knew existed. While Green Acres also offers two-hour rides, for this beginner one hour was an excellent introduction, leaving me sore but wanting to do it again. Green Acres conducts beach rides year-round in Pacific City, and there is something different to see in every season. While we missed the spring wildflowers in the dunes this year, we might come back for the gorgeous “second summer” that is fall 10-

on the Oregon coast, and the rough surf of winter would be fun to see as well. So don’t worry about boots, cowboy hats, or lassos -- just head to Pacific City and take a ride you won’t soon forget.

When you go:

Green Acres Beach & Trail Rides Reservations: 541-921-6289 Information: 541- 603-1768 5895 Pacific Ave., Pacific City

Green Acres also offers mountain trail rides from their Otis stables, 2915 S. Hill Rd., Otis (same phone numbers for information and reservations)

Other Beach Riding Opportunities: Oregon Beach Rides

Rides in Pacific City in the fall and winter and Nehalem Bay in the summer 971-237-6653

Ocean Trails Riding Stables

Tierra del Mar 503-965-6145 541-994-4849 w w w. f a c e b o o k . c o m / p a g e s / O c e a n -Tr a i l s - R i d i n g Stables/127359653984754

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10841 NW Pacific Coast Hwy Seal Rock 541-563-2107



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The Jennifer Sears Glass Art Studio Blow Your Own Float, Fluted Bowl, Paperweight, Starfish or Heart. Local Artists walk you through the art of creating with molten glass

4821 SW Hwy 101 at the South End of Lincoln City 541-996-2569 •


SURF'S Lincoln City surf isn’t for faint of heart


By Dennis Anstine


t’s unlikely that Lincoln City will be known anytime soon as Oregon’s “Surf City,” but with a world-renowned “big wave” contest and a 7.5mile stretch of open ocean such a handle wouldn’t be a misnomer. Surfing the Oregon coast between South Beach and Pacific City has gained in popularity in recent years among residents and inland visitors who cross the Coast Range in search of a wild ride or two. There’s also the attraction of the Nelscott Reef, which during winter months can often create spectacular waves with faces as high as 35 to 50 feet and has become a regular venue for the Big Wave World Tour. But there’s nothing romantic about Lincoln City’s lengthy stretch of beach – running north from the opening of Siletz Bay to Cascade Head – for about two dozen dedicated local surfers who regularly brave the wind, cold and unpredictable nature of open water. “It can be good, outstanding even, but its fickle, always changing because of the strong wind,” said Tim Henton, owner of the Oregon Surf Shop and a 17-year surfing veteran of the area. “Lincoln City proper is all unprotected beach base with a deep offshore topography and lots or reefs and rocks out there. So experience really counts.” 12-

Stormy weather in January and February will cause locals who surf year-round to seek more protected areas, such as nearby Otter Rock or drive the California coast to surf favorites such as Santa Cruz or Carpinteria’s Rincon Point. Henton, who moved to Lincoln City from Eugene in his 20s, is reluctant to divulge some of his favorite spots, but he admits that his shop on Southwest Highway 101 is only a few blocks from some of the best. Mattie Starr, who works for Henton and also grew up in the Eugene area, has been surfing in the area 13 of his 25 years. He said there’s not much of a “competitive scene” in the area, but he’d like to “do some open contests at different spots around town” during the summer and fall. “There’s a tight-knit group here but not a lot of people so it’s fun because it’s not crowded,” Starr said. “There are people coming in to rent and buy wet suits, but they use them for a lot of reasons.” Henson’s store, which also offers an extensive outdoor clothing line, is one of three surf shops in Lincoln City. “There is an overabundance because year-round there’s only a need for one surf shop,” Henson said. “We are doing more rentals, but selling on online really keeps us going. That and clothing and accessory

Photo by Jo Wienert

items that people like. And we sell a lot of wet suits.” He admits, however, that owning a surf shop is a dream because it keeps him close to what has become more than a hobby. Plus, there’s always the thrill of riding the big waves that break out of the Nelscott Reef, which sits about a half-mile off the coast in the Nelscott neighborhood. The eighth running of the annual competition (24 entrants) was the second straight time that the surfers had paddled out to the waves after using jet skis to tow them out during the first six events. Several local surfers have competed in recent years, but not Henton, who has ridden the big wave numerous times over the years. “I wouldn’t say I’m a ‘big wave’ surfer but I love it,” he said. “You never do it without a spike in your heart beat. The first time I did it I took a shot on the head. It’s wild because it doesn’t have a consolidated peak and sometimes you can travel on it for the length of a football field. “What’s special about it is that it’s so fast,” he added. “I’ve done the North Shore (in Hawaii) and other big waves, but the fastest I’ve ever gone on water is right here. And each ride is a little different than the one before. It’s amazing.” Henton prefers being towed out because it’s safer than paddling, easier and allows him to surf with

a smaller board, which gives him more speed and maneuverability. “Hey, I’m 41 and have three kids and an interest in coming home in one piece,” he said. “Also, being towed you can wear a jacket, which is a pretty safe way to do big waves.” Towing to a big wave may not be cool in some surfing circles, he said, but it works for him “because I’m still hanging out, just having fun.” To reach the Nelscott Reef parking lot (No. 46), turn left at SW 12th St. and follow the winding road to the road end.


Oregon surf Shop

3001 SW Hwy 101. 541-996-3957

Lincoln City Surf

4792 SE Hwy 101, 541-996-7433

Safari Town Surf

3026 NE Hwy 101, 541-996-6335. 13

Photo by Ray Lussen 14-



By Rick Beasley

eldom crowded, these state parks are gateways to sand and surf. Known best for its awesome cliff views and wave-ravaged rocky headlands, the stunning coastline in all directions from Depoe Bay is dotted with exquisite sandy beaches. Thanks to Oregon’s farsighted beach laws, these wonderful places are always open to the beachcombing public, and are outfitted with restrooms, picnic tables and other amenities at their gateways. If you have a desire to be a “castaway,” you’ve come to the right place — our beaches have plenty of elbowroom no matter the time of year!

Fogarty Creek State Recreation Area

This wonderful park marks the confluence of creek and ocean in a setting that makes the spirits soar. Located just two-and-half miles north of Depoe Bay, the park features wind-sheltered picnic areas and wooden footbridges leading to a forest of Sitka Spruce, western hemlock, shore pine and alder forest. At the cliff-rimmed beach, a lazy creek flows into the sea, cutting through an enchanting scenic ocean cove. Fogarty Creek — the park and stream are named the late pioneer judge John Fogarty — features excellent bird watching, tidepooling activities and close encounters with marine life such as sea lions that often lounge in the surfline and whales that feed offshore. At low tide, the sandy beaches give way to delicate tidepools full of colorful marine life and fossil images on ancient rocks. Here, sea caves carved into the sandstone bluffs attest to the power of the winter surf. The sandy beach, sheltered on all sides by steep bluffs, is cozy enough for a family picnic but big enough for

a wedding party. Linger past sunset, and you’ll want to start a cozy fire and roast marshmallows! You’ll find covered picnic shelters and quick beach access by following the west exit off Hwy. 101 — just follow the familiar Oregon State Park signs!

Gleneden Beach State Wayside Park

Located four-and-a-half miles north of Depoe Bay, the Gleneden Beach state park is nestled in the middle of seven miles of uninterrupted beach. Here, all eyes are on you as sea lions peer from the surf at visitors emerging onto a soft, sandy expanse lined by sandstone bluffs. Wetsuit-clad surfers often catch waves here in the mornings. Those same waves leave startling surprises for beachcombers, especially in the winter months. You’ll find plenty of parking, a gazebo and picnic tables aplenty. To get here, turn east off Hwy. 101 at Wesler St. and follow the familiar Oregon State Park signs.

Devils Punch Bowl State Natural Area

Head five miles south from Depoe Bay to this allpurpose state park and wayside, which offers a great vantage to watch whales and storms and a stairway to one of the most beautiful beaches at the Oregon coast. A favorite among surfers and surf watchers, the Devils Punch Bowl has it all: eye-popping geological formations, a sandy beach littered with driftwood and agates, tidepools that come alive with the daily ebb and picnic tables perched atop the undulating, rocky shoreline. From Hwy. 101, take the Otter Crest Loop to First Street in Otter Rock, where there is lots of public parking at the wayside and turnaround. 15



Take a Hike!

Lace Up Your Boots and Get onto the Beaten Path by Nancy Steinberg


ewport is a beautiful place to hike, especially for families – the terrain is varied and generally not too challenging, the views are spectacular, and a latte or ice cream cone are never very far away. Just to the north and south of the city (see listings) are some more challenging, longer hikes that would appeal to more serious trekkers. Here are some short hikes within city limits. Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area The federal Bureau of Land Management operates the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, a spit of land at the north end of town that juts out dramatically into the Pacific, punctuated at the end by the stately and beautiful Yaquina Head Lighthouse. There are a number of short walks and hikes that can be strung together for a complete tour of the headland. Note that there is a $7 admission fee for cars. A recent hike up Communications Hill at Yaquina Head (so-called because the Coast Guard maintains communications equipment at the top of the hill) afforded some of the best views in Newport, despite the raw and rainy day I chose for the hike. The trail is less than a mile long, moderately steep in places on the way up, and traverses a typical shore pine and Sitka spruce forest. On this particular morning, the only sounds I heard were the crunching of gravel under my feet and the whoosh of the surf below. My favorite spot on the hike is not necessarily

the top, although the view from there of scalloped waves, often with intrepid surfers sprinkled about, is amazing. Even better is the moment just after making the major switchback in the trail, where there are expansive ocean vistas to both sides of the trail. Interpretive signage along the trail lists the types of native vegetation to be seen: elderberry, red alder, bleeding heart, and more. I kept a close eye out for grey whales. While I didn’t see any on this hike, I have seen whales while hiking here on many other occasions. Other wildlife sightings could include songbirds, chipmunks, bald eagles, and, seasonally, gorgeous formations of pelicans flying low over the water. Hikers can use the series of paved and wellmaintained pedestrian paths to connect to the other short hikes and walks at Yaquina Head. Salal Hill, further out the headland, is a shorter but steeper trail, which also affords outstanding views from the peak. Spring wildflowers can be spectacular here. While descending stairs doesn’t usually count as taking a hike, the staircases down to Cobble Beach are a bit steep, with a great beach as the payoff at the bottom (and of course, what goes down must somehow come back up, so there is a workout involved). Covered in uniformly smooth, round black stones of volcanic origin, one of the most remarkable things about this beach is its sound: listen for the hallmark clatter of the cobbles being tossed and jumbled each time a

Photo by Jo Wienert 17

wave comes ashore. The large offshore rock islands often provide haul-out areas for harbor seals. If you happen to come across a baby seal on the beach here, or anywhere else, please leave it alone and give it a wide berth – its mother is just offshore foraging for food and she will be too shy to return to her baby if you hang around. Mike Miller Park and Connected Trails Mike Miller Park in South Beach is a gorgeous one-mile loop trail that traverses a range of habitats, from an old spruce/fir forest of towering trees to freshwater wetlands. In recent years the Mike Miller loop has been linked to new trails near the Newport campus of Oregon Coast Community College; the trail system can be accessed either from the playground at the Wilder community abutting the college campus or from the Mike Miller trailhead (see sidebar for directions). Having recently become enamored of trail running, I like to take these trails at top speed, but it’s equally fun to take your time. If you park at the Mike Miller trailhead off of Rte. 101, you can pick up an interpretive brochure and follow the numbered markers along the trail to learn more about this iconic Pacific Northwest ecosystem. In spring, wild rhododendrons tower overhead and salmonberry and other typical native vegetation in every shade of green crowds the view. In most years ospreys nest

Photo by Jo Wienert 18-

in snags in the park’s 40 acres, and other bird life is abundant as well. An observation deck at the park’s wetland area brings hikers closer to the newts, turtles, and ducks that are often found in the water. Terrain is mostly dirt (watch for stumps and roots that try to trip you!) with some gravel and a few small bridges crossing over creeks or particularly wet areas. About half-way around the loop you will come to signs indicating side trails to the community college and the Emery Trail, named after the generous landowner who has donated the use of some of his property for the extensions of these trails. The Emery Trail is an out-and-back spur that runs by more wetland area and includes a couple of strenuous but short hills. The community college trail links up to the Wilder housing development near the campus, emerging at a lovely playground maintained jointly by Wilder and the City of Newport. The City’s longterm plans are to extend these trails even further through South Beach, eventually hooking into a trail planned to run all the way from Corvallis to the coast. South Beach State Park South Beach State Park maintains a range of trails, from a flat, paved bike trail perfect for bikes, scooters, strollers, and rollerblades, to wooded trails that can provide quite a workout. Skirting the edge of the park’s campground is the Cooper Ridge Nature Trail, a 1.75-mile loop through forest and meadow habitats. Terrain is dirt and sand, and there are a few moderately challenging hills. The South Jetty Trail, a paved ADA-accessible path, is a one-mile link between the park and the South Jetty recreation area (see the section in this magazine on biking for more information about this trail). The Old Jetty Trail is another wooded alternative, which basically parallels the paved trail but goes through the shore pine forest and dune habitats of the park. Wildlife is abundant in South Beach, especially in the early morning hours – keep your eyes open for deer, birds, and even the occasional coyote. Beaver Creek State Natural Area Eight miles south of Newport is the relatively new Beaver Creek State Natural Area, which is laced with gorgeous upland meadow trails. Trails start from the Visitor Center, or from a less well-marked parking area on South Beaver Creek Road (ask at the Visitor Center for directions). Because much of the park is in low-lying wetlands, trail access can be limited, or covered in mud and water, during some months so the southern access point allows for a less mucky start to your hike. Hikers will almost surely see evidence of the elk herds that frequent the park, and perhaps signs of other wildlife – bears, raptors, deer, river otters – as well. Friends who live in the neighborhood have even seen cougar and bobcat.

When You Go:

Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area

750 NW Lighthouse Drive (follow signs off of Rte. 101 north of town) 541-574-3100 Park grounds open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily $7 fee for non-commercial vehicles; free to walk or bike in

Mike Miller Park

Left on SE 50th Street south of the Yaquina Bay Bridge - No fee

South Beach State Park

South of the Yaquina Bay Bridge on west side of Rte. 101 541-867-4715 - No fee for day use parkPage&parkId=149

Beaver Creek State Natural Area

Turn east onto Beaver Creek Road 7.4 miles south of Yaquina Bay

More Hikes to the North & South

For hikers interested in longer and more difficult hikes, just north and south of Newport are some perfect options.

To the north:

Cascade Head, Lincoln City

Trailhead on Three Rocks Road off of Rte. 101 (Park at boat ramp) Note: all trails open July 16-December 31; some are otherwise closed. No fee

To the South:

Cape Perpetua National Scenic Area, Yachats

Visitor Center: 2400 Hwy 101, Yachats 541-547-3289 $5 per vehicle or Northwest Forest Pass

Bridge; Visitor Center is on the right in a little more than a mile 541-563-6413 - No fee 19


Oil painting, “Tana C” (Toledo subject). Courtesy Michael Gibbons Gallery

Toledo: A Thriving Arts Scene on the Yaquina River by Nancy Steinberg


aybe it’s the light: there’s no question that the sun shines more in Toledo than it does on the coast seven miles away. Maybe it’s the Yaquina River, which wends its way through town, a gorgeous natural muse. Or maybe it’s the relatively low cost of living in this small mill/ fishing/logging town. Something about Toledo, Oregon nurtures art and attracts artists, more of whom seem to move to town and set up their easels and studios every year. It all started with landscape oil painter Michael Gibbons. Asked by a friend to look over the bones of the vicarage of the Episcopal Church in Toledo, which had also been burned in a fire, to determine if it was worth remodeling, he surveyed the building, fell in love, and bought it himself that day. It was 1981 and Toledo was still mainly a logging and mill town; Gibbons was definitely a horse of a different 22-

color. That was the germ of the Toledo Arts District not far from downtown that now includes Gibbons’ gallery and studio, the Yaquina River Art Museum, painter Ivan Kelly’s studio, rental spaces for artists, and much more. A recent visit with the Gibbonses revealed one wonder after another. The Vicarage, lovingly restored, is now the Gibbons’ home and gallery. Incredible art – Michael’s own as well as a lovingly-curated collection from all over the world – is everywhere. The inviting garden, which Judy tends herself, is full of charming nooks and crannies, as well as spectacular flowers and other plantings. Gibbons paints en plein air, meaning in the great outdoors with his landscape subjects stretched out in front of him. But he still needs an indoor space in which to put the finishing touches on his canvases. His studio, serene and filled with light, is across the

street from The Vicarage in a restored Methodist church. He and Judy also own and rent apartments here, including a short-term rental nestled in an inner courtyard specifically designed to be an artist’s retreat. It is referred to as the “J. P. Studio” because it was the office of the Justice of the Peace when Toledo was the county seat. Toledo is muse to Gibbons as well as home. Many of his rich, evocative, light-filled oils take Toledo as their subject. “We who are fortunate enough to live in the Pacific Northwest, one of the most beautiful places on Earth, are blessed beyond measure,” he has written. “The light, the palette of colors and the mystery are distinctive here.” Gibbons founded and curates the Yaquina River Museum of Art, also across the street from The Vicarage. The museum has a small permanent collection which features a number of Gibbons’ works as well as works of Ivan Kelly, Bill Kucha, Marion Moir, Edward Young, Dee Boyles, and others. The thread that ties the works together is a connection to the land, water, and industry of the Yaquina River watershed. Rotating exhibits highlight pieces from the permanent collection as well as works of outside artists. A few houses away from The Vicarage is the studio and gallery of Ivan Kelly, who came to Toledo in the mid-1990s from Canada. Kelly’s subjects include western and Pacific Northwest landscapes, as well as big game portraits. He is particularly drawn to the interplay of light and shadow which create the spectrum of moods found in the inspiring natural areas he loves so much. Kelly exhibits nationwide, and has won numerous awards for his works. In addition to his Toledo gallery, his works are currently on display at the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center in Newport, traveling with a touring exhibit sponsored

by the American Society of Marine Artists, and hanging in state Representative David Gomberg’s office in the Oregon State Capitol. The third founder of the Toledo arts scene is Douglas Haga, a painter, photographer, and printmaker. Haga came to the artist’s life via a circuitous route that included stints as a fisherman, soldier, logger, graphic designer, and short-order cook. He finds inspiration in the vistas of the Pacific Northwest, but also in surprising places like the vitriolic passion of a street preacher in San Francisco. His latest works, the Black and Gold Series, are painted with oversize brushes he makes himself. The result is a stunning series of large pieces that resemble Zen calligraphy in shades of black, gold, and white. Haga now exhibits and sells his work at SolaLuna Gallery on Toledo’s Main Street. Artists Sarah Gayle and Wayne Plourde opened SolaLuna about a year ago, and it has been growing, expanding, and changing ever since. The colorful storefront of the gallery on Main Street pulls Photo by Nancy Steinberg visitors in. “Our goal is to make beautiful things available and affordable to everybody,” Gayle says. “We believe that art can be a part of your everyday life.” Gayle herself seems to have works in every conceivable medium in the gallery, from oils to needlework to clothing. Douglas Haga’s wife, Alice, is a creative fused glass artist who makes practical and decorative pieces in bright colors. SolaLuna has just distributed small child-sized chairs to a set of local artists, who will decorate them and contribute to the “Chair Challenge,” results of which will be displayed at SolaLuna beginning Sept. 1. Just a few doors down from SolaLuna, Gallery Briseño and the Toledo Arts Guild share a storefront. Sam Briseño is an accomplished sculptor who works in steel. His work ranges from graceful depictions of 23

Photo by Nancy Steinberg

local marine life to more abstract sculptural pieces reminiscent of his roots as an industrial millwright. His artwork is not confined to the gallery; look for his benches scattered throughout Toledo, his 21 foot tall sculpture “The Ambassador” across from the Newport Performing Arts Center, and his large and life-like octopus gracing the entryway at the Hatfield Marine Science Center Visitor Center in South Beach. The Toledo Arts Guild offers a way for Toledobased artists to come together to respond to community projects (like designing a unique disc golf course behind the Toledo Public Library) and to offer educational programs, as they do at the local high school. Guild artists exhibit and sell their works in the storefront, including Scott Blackman (stunning coastal photography), Sandy Blackman (colorful fiber arts, particularly felted handbags), and Heather Fortner (fish prints done in the traditional Japanese gyotaku style). Deanne Dunlap, President of the Guild, says of the Toledo arts scene, “I think of Toledo as nurturing a ‘creative cluster’ which includes the Toledo Clayworks, the Bee Hive (an arts and crafts store), and other local businesses.” A recently-produced map, “Art in Toledo, Oregon,” available at the venues mentioned and elsewhere, points the way to the numerous other studios, galleries, and public art in Toledo. In addition to visiting any of these galleries and studios during their regular open hours, visitors have multiple opportunities to experience the entire Toledo arts scene at once with monthly “First Weekend” art walks and the annual Art Walk on Labor Day Weekend. On the first weekend of every month, galleries and studios throw open their doors with receptions and openings, usually organized around a theme or featuring particular artists. The annual Art Walk includes a Founders’ Show at the Toledo Public Library featuring works of the three founders of the event: Gibbons, Kelly, and Haga. More information about the monthly and annual walks is available at Toledo’s artists have a range of reasons for coming to and staying in this small town. Gibbons says, “People who love the arts love an adventure,” leading 24-

them off the beaten path. Sarah Gayle cites the “unbelievably kind and generous people” she’s met in Toledo. As I left the sunny and warm downtown to head back into the fog bank enveloping Newport, I still think it could be the light.

When You Go:

Gallery Michael Gibbons/The Vicarage 140 NE Alder St., Toledo 541-3336-2797 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday to Saturday Noon to 6 p.m. Sunday Yaquina River Museum of Art 151 NE Alder St., Toledo 541-336-1907 Noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday Ivan Kelly Gallery 207 E. Graham St., Toledo 541-336-1124 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday Or by chance or appointment

Gallery Briseño/Toledo Arts Guild 359 N. Main St., Toledo 541-336-1315 SolaLuna Gallery 147 N. Main St., Toledo 541-632-3236 Summer hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday Noon to 4 p.m. Sunday


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o n A y a l l s e P a e Ba m o the Heart of Waldport by Nancy Steinberg

o the Alsi tribe, who lived along the Oregon coast between Seal Rock and Yachats as long as 8,000 years ago, the word “alsi” meant “peace.” Peace still pervades the small coastal town of Waldport, 16 miles south of Newport, where the Alsi used to live. It weaves its way through the town and dominates its landscape in the form of the clear, cool, gorgeous, fish-laden Alsea River and pristine Alsea Bay, the centerpiece of Waldport. Much of life in Waldport revolves around Alsea Bay and the critters that dwell there. Alsea Bay is an estuary, a place where the fresh water of a river meets and mixes with the salty sea. Estuaries are one of the most productive ecosystems on Earth, containing a vast diversity of plants and animals that are uniquely adapted to the brackish conditions there. The young life stages of many species, including most of the ones we love to eat, use estuaries as nursery areas, where the food is abundant, the conditions calm, and the hiding places plentiful. The wetlands that often fringe the shores of estuaries serve to filter out contaminants before they reach the ocean and protect the shoreline from flooding. So estuaries are important wherever they are found. Alsea Bay, one of the most pristine estuaries on the Oregon coast, is no exception. Its habitats include extensive wetlands, mud flats, sandy shores, and even some rocky areas. The bay teems with life, much of it tasty and fun to harvest. Adult Chinook, coho, and chum salmon pass through on their way to upriver spawning sites, while the resultant babies use


the estuary as a rest stop on their journey to the sea. Dungeness crab creep and crawl across the bottom, while clams burrow into the sediment. River otters frolic upriver, and seals haul out on sandy spits in the bay itself. Bald eagles soar overhead. In fact, the bird life in Alsea Bay is so diverse and abundant that the bay has been designated by the National Audubon Society as an Important Bird Area, so make sure to bring your binoculars when you come. One way to get an excellent introduction to some of the denizens of the bay, as well as instructions on how to harvest, clean, and cook them, is by attending a ranger talk at the Alsea Bay Historic Interpretive Center at the north end of the bridge in Waldport. State Parks naturalist Cameron R auenhorst, otherwise known as “ R a n g e r Clameron,” demonstrates clamming, crabbing, and shrimping techniques at a very entertaining presentation on summertime Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays at 10:30 a.m. He explains the ins and outs of crabbing, clamming, collectPhoto by Nancy Steinberg ing mussels, and shrimping (forget visions of a peel-and-eat dinner: ghost shrimp burrow in the sediments of the bay, and are used as bait). Then listeners can follow him down to the shore and practice their clamming and shrimping techniques (adults need a shellfish license to keep their quarry - $7 for an annual permit for Oregon residents, $20.50 for out-of-staters). The Interpretive Center itself serves up the fascinating history of the Alsea Bay Bridge as well as other aspects of life in this part of Lincoln County. The building also doubles as the Chamber of 27

Photo by Nancy Steinberg

merce for the town, and the staff are very friendly and knowledgeable about everything Waldportian – go ahead, ask them anything! Fishing in Alsea Bay is top-notch, particularly for Chinook salmon in the fall. Typically the salmon will congregate in the bay in late summer and early fall, moving upriver to begin their spawning migration with the first big rainfalls of the season. Bay fishing is best in September and October. Most bay fishermen find success trolling, while bait fishing and fly fishing are used more in the tidewater sections of the river. Sportfishing regulations for Alsea Bay (and everywhere else in the state) can be found on the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website ( If you want to try your hand at crabbing in one of the premiere spots in the state for catching these leggy critters, you can rent all the necessary equipment, including a boat, at Dock of the Bay Marina near the Port of Alsea. A 15-ft. boat, three crab rings, bait, and a crab measurer will run you $80 for the day. They’ll even cook your crabs for you. You can launch your own boat, motored or motorless, at the Port of Alsea’s boat launch. Just be cautious when boating in the bay: watch the tides so you don’t get stuck on a sand bar, and stay away from the turbulent “jaws” at the mouth of the bay. One of the best ways to get up close and personal with the bay and its inhabitants is by coming down to their level in a kayak. Silent and low to the water, kayaking is easy to learn in the still waters of the bay, and can take you to backwaters where power boats can’t go. A unique kayak tour and rental company, the Kayak Shack, is operated jointly by the Port of Alsea and Waldport High School right next to the launch site at the Port of Alsea. The business, open in the summertime and fall weekends, is operated by the school’s Entrepreneurship class members. These students operate most aspects of the business, 28-

including giving paddling tours of Lint Slough not far from the launch site. Guided tours, coordinated with the tides to make padding easier, are about two and a half hours in length. Participants receive basic paddling instruction, the tour, and time to paddle on their own. With so much to do in Alsea Bay, it might be tempting to cram it all in. Better to take it slow, spend a few days, and find that peace that the bay promises.

When you go: Alsea Bay Historic Interpretive Center 620 NW Spring St., Waldport 541-563-2002 w w w. o r e g o n s t a t e p a r k s . o r g / i n d e x . cfm?do=parkPage.dsp_parkPage&parkId=143 9 a.m. to 5 p.m daily Port of Alsea Picnic tables, boat launches 365-A Port St., Waldport 541-563-3872 Dock of the Bay Marina 1245 Mill St., Waldport 541-563-2003

Kayak Shack 365-B Port St., Waldport 541-563-4445 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday – Sunday Tours and kayak rentals daily; call for reservations and times


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HAPPY TRAILS Hiking in Cape Perpetua Scenic Area by Nancy Steinberg


very time I visit the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area just south of Yachats, my brain explodes. How many different words for “beautiful” can there be? Sometimes I just cannot comprehend the dramatic beauty of this place. One of the best ways to get yourself similarly overwhelmed with magnificence is to hike the many trails of Cape Perpetua. Cape Perpetua has been attracting visitors for thousands of years. Shell middens (ancient trash piles) and other clues tell us that native Americans fished, hunted, and gathered shellfish and other food in this area for about 6,000 years prior to European arrival. Captain James Cook, on his voyage to search for a Pacific entrance to a Northwest Passage, gave the cape its current name when he sailed past it on St. Perpetua’s day (March 7) in 1778 (although some historians assert that the cape was so-named because storms kept Captain Cook from making much forward progress that March, thus the cape was perpetually in view). The area became part of the Siuslaw National Forest in 1908. The Civilian Conservation Corps played a large role in developing the amenities in the park in the 1930s, including construction of the campground and stone observation shelter at the peak of the cape. The shelter was used as a coastal watch station during World War II, and a large gun was even installed there for a time. Hiking in this area is a joy. The trail options, totaling 26 miles of trail in all, range from flat and coastal, to flat and forested, to intensely elevated but short, to long and strenuous. To start, rather than driving a car up the perfectly serviceable road to the peak of the cape, why not walk it? The St. Perpetua Trail starts

at the Visitor Center (or a small parking area on the road leading to the Cape Perpetua campground) and ascends 700 feet in a little over a mile via a series of switchbacks to the top of the cape, treating hikers all the while to stunning ocean views, a lush coastal forest, and spectacular wildflowers in season. On a clear day you can see 37 miles out to sea and more than800 miles of Oregon coastline from the top. At the top there is quarter-mile loop trail (the Whispering Spruce Trail) that includes access to the stone shelter – make sure to stop and look for gray whales offshore. The most recent addition to the Cape Perpetua trail system is Amanda’s Trail, which steeply descends the north side of the Cape for two miles, ending up at the Yachats Ocean Road. Starting from the same trailheads as the St. Perpetua Trail is the Giant Spruce Trail, which follows relatively flat forested territory for a mile, ending at – guess what? – a giant Sitka spruce tree. The trail leads through old growth forest along Cape Creek, cutting through the Cape Perpetua campground along the way. You’ll know when you get to the namesake giant spruce – it’s quite a tree. Designated in 2007 as an Oregon Heritage Tree, it towers more than 185 feet tall, is 40 feet in circumference, and is estimated to be nearly 600 years old. On the west side of Highway 101 there are a number of gorgeous sites of interest, all linked by coastal pathways with evocative trail names. Parking at the Devil’s Churn parking area (great hot chocolate at the little snack bar there, by the way, and yes, we drink hot chocolate year-round on the Oregon coast!), visitors can watch the surf froth in and out of the Devil’s Churn by following the Trail of the Restless Trails continued on page 33 31

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Trails continued from page 31 Waters. The Captain Cook Trail leads to fascinating tide pools chock-full of unusual animals and plants, and, further on, the Oregon coast’s version of a geyser, a spouting horn. While the spouting horn is less-than-faithful in the Yellowstone sense, it’s still spectacular. When the wave and tide conditions are right, a hole eroded in the “ceiling” of a small coastal cave creates a spectacular water spout that erupts as much as 50 feet into the air. The Cape Cove Trail ends up at a picturesque little pocket beach, often littered with oversize driftwood reminiscent of whale bones. Hikers looking for more of a challenge will find it in extensive trails that generally head east from the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center through towering spruce and fir forests. The Cook’s Ridge and Gwynn Creek Loop Trail traverses old-growth forest on four different well-maintained trails: Discovery Loop, Cook’s Ridge, Gwynn Creek, and Cummins Creek Loop Trails, for a total of 6.5 miles. The terrain is mostly needle-carpeted forest floor. The Cummins Creek Loop Trail itself can be done as either a 6.25- or 10-mile loop, or hooked with these other trails for a total of about 12 miles. These are more difficult hikes, with between 1,000 and 1,200 feet of elevation gain depending on the route, some of it fairly steep. These trails provide spectacular ocean views, particularly from the farthest (eastern) end of the loops, as well as lush meadows and creekside environments. As you loop back toward the starting point, all of these trails follow the Oregon Coast Trail which parallels Rte. 101. The ocean roars here, even louder than the auto traffic, and your glimpses of the Pacific through the trees couldn’t be more stunning. I like setting off on these longer hikes early in the morning, when the light streams through the trees, creating a forested cathedral-like feel. If you’re lucky you might spy some of the forest’s inhabitants, including elk and a wide variety of bird life. You will need to dress in layers, as coastal mornings are quite cool but you’ll warm up as you head uphill. Most hikers average about 2-3 miles per hour, depending on the terrain and their conditioning, so use this as a rule of thumb as you plan your day. Don’t forget water, and definitely a snack or lunch for the longer hikes. And maybe tuck a thesaurus into your pack as well, so you can find even more words to describe the beauty of this special place.

When you go:

Cape Perpetua Scenic Area Siuslaw National Forest

Two miles south of Yachats and 22 miles north of Florence on Highway 101 541-547-3289 $5/vehicle/day or an annual recreation pass, available for purchase at the Visitor Center Visitor Center summer hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily 33


Photo courtesy of Digital Dunes Photography

Photo courtesy of Digital Dunes Photography

Visit Florence on the Oregon Coast “Come See What We See!”

By Cal Applebee, executive director, Florence Area Chamber of Commerce


he Florence community invites you to “Come See What We See!”. Why do we so invite? Because we have so much to see and do when you journey to the Oregon coast. Whether you like to enjoy nature’s quiet solitude, experience fine dining and entertainment, play a round of world-class golf, or seek adventure of a higher order, we have it all here. You can explore Florence by hiking over a dozen trails along creeks, lakes or dunes to enjoy the breath-taking beauty of the nature that surrounds us. No visit to the Oregon coast would be complete without a visit to the world famous Sea Lion Caves just north of Florence. Not only is it a world famous

destination attraction, it is also the world’s largest sea cave, home of Steller sea lions. Choose adventure on the high seas of the great Pacific Ocean or navigate the waters of the Siuslaw River, as well as nearly 20 lakes of all sizes and enjoy by paddling a kayak or canoe, crabbing, fishing from a commercial fishing vessel, or cruise the scenic Siuslaw on a pontoon boat. But if your sense of adventure is on the dryer side, you might seek thrills on the massive Oregon dunes riding a dune buggy or quad – and if you’re really adventurous test your skill on a sand board at the world’s first sand park. If you seek thrills at higher altitude, check out the scenic aerial tours available at the Florence

Photo courtesy of Digital Dunes Photography 35

Photo courtesy of Digital Dunes Photography

Municipal Airport where you can choose between the serenity of flight in a helicopter, or experience thrilling flight in the World War II Stearman biplane of AeroLegends. If you prefer a more formal outdoor experience, grab your clubs and visit our two outstanding worldclass golf courses, Sandpines Golf Links - nestled amidst wind-swept sand dunes and towering pines - a breathtaking location for coastal golf, or Ocean Dunes Golf Links - a truly unique, challenging and fun golfing experience. Is nightlife your choice? Three Rivers Casino and Hotel offers lively entertainment year-round, as does the Florence Events Center with music, plays and arts of all sorts. You can check out all the local night spots in Historic Old Town as well. And while visiting Historic Old Town, be sure to 36-

check out all the quaint shops and extensive and tasty dining choices at your beck and call such as Spice or the Bridgewater. Or you can choose to dine while watching ocean waves roll onto the beach at Driftwood Shores Resort. And don’t forget to visit our antiques district for that special treasure. So I hope you can see that when we invite you to “Come See What We See!”, it’s not just a hollow statement – we really do have it all in Florence on the Oregon coast, and we invite you to come experience it for yourself. You can start your adventure right from your computer by taking an aerial virtual tour on our website, Click on the naviFUN image at the bottom of our home page; use your mouse to shift the direction of the camera as you fly over Florence – we know you’ll like what you see!

LINCOLN COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM The Society focuses on the same goals stablished early by its members: to preserve, publish, and educate. The Society maintains two historic structures, the Burrows House and a site on Newport’s historic Bayfront slated to become the Pacific Maritime & Heritage Center, as well as the Log Cabin Museum. It also maintains the CV Tradewinds Kingfisher, Stan Allyn’s charter boat, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Society preserves the state’s largest collection of artifacts from Oregon’s central coast. For more information viist http:// or call 541-265-7509 DEVILS PUNCH BOWL STATE NATURAL AREA Surfers and surf watchers energize this area! During winter storms, water from the restless ocean slams with a thundering roar into a hollow rock formation shaped like a huge punch bowl. The surf churns, foams, and swirls as it mixes a violent brew. The punch bowl was probably created by the collapse of the roof over two sea caves, then shaped by wave action. The park is a popular whale watching site and displays an intriguing geology. This is a scenic picnic spot atop the undulating rocky shoreline. Don’t forget to explore the tidepools. There is no fee to use this park. For information, call 1-800-551-6949. CLIMB THE LIGHTHOUSE YAQUINA HEAD Have you ever climbed the stairs of a lighthouse? Wondered what it was like to be a lighthouse keeper? Viewed a working lens? We invite you to visit Yaquina Head Lighthouse, where these questions and more will be answered, as you tour this historic structure. The 93 foot tower, Oregon’s tallest, is located on a narrow point of land jutting due west into the Pacific Ocean north of Newport, at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. Winds and rain have buffeted this lighthouse since its beginning in 1872. It took approximately one year, and over 370,000 bricks to construct Oregon’s tallest lighthouse. The light has been active since Head Keeper Fayette Crosby walked up the 114 steps, to light the wicks on the evening of August 20, 1873. At that time the oil burning fixed white light was displayed from sunset to sunrise. Today, the fully automated first order Fresnel lens runs on commercial power and flashes its unique pattern of 2 seconds on, 2 seconds off, 2 seconds on, 14 seconds off, 24 hours a day. The oil burning wicks have been replaced with a 1000 watt globe. The nightly vigil of watching the light is gone as are the resident keepers and their quarters, but the staff of the Bureau of Land Management, who are now responsible for the tower, guide you through the lighthouse with tales of yesteryear. For more information call 541-574-3100 for Park Hours and Tours. or 541-574-3100 for Interpretive Store. WHALE WATCHING DEPOE BAY Oregon Parks and Recreation Department park rangers are ready at the Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay to answer your questions and help you find whales to watch. Located on U.S. 101 along the seawall in scenic Depoe Bay, the center is a perfect spot for visitors to locate and watch whales as they blow, dive, spyhop and breach. Whale watching takes place almost year-round on the Oregon Coast. We watch whales in the winter from mid-December through January. Spring watching begins in March with a peak in numbers the last week and finishes in June with mothers and babies being the last whales traveling north. Summer brings whales that feed along our coast from July to mid-November. Located in Depoe Bay on Highway 101. Summer Season: Memorial Day - Labor Day 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Daily, Discovery Season: October- May 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Wednesday - Sunday. For more

information contact 541-765-3304 SEE THE SPOUTING HORNS DEPOE BAY Depending on tidal conditions, visitors can watch and sometimes be drenched by the famous spouting horns that shoot geysers of salt water into the air, yards away from Highway 101. Depoe Bay is two hours from Portland, Oregon and the Portland International Airport. GO TIDE POOLING Before you go see pages 28-31 about tidepooling in the Yachats. VISIT THE HOME OF A SEA LION Sea Lion Caves is nature’s home for wild sea lions and a variety of sea birds. Sea Lion Caves is located 11 miles North of Florence on the Oregon Coast. The vast cavern with the roar of the great Steller sea lions, the cries of the wailing birds, and the restless surge of the ocean into the cave below, form an unforgettable experience. For more information visit www. or call 541-547-3111. LEARN ABOUT MARINE LIFE Located on Yaquina Bay in Newport, Oregon, the Visitor Center is the public wing of Oregon State University’s Mark O. Hatfield Marine Science Center and is managed by Oregon Sea Grant. We’re open yearround and admission is by donation. Exhibits feature live marine animals, interactive puzzles and games that demonstrate marine science concepts and other aspects of our amazing ocean planet. Trained volunteers are happy to answer your questions, and our bookstore offers books, videos and games. For more information visit or call VISIT THE OREGON COAST AQUARIUM Passages of the Deep: The Aquarium’s Passages of the Deep exhibit allows the visitor to literally immerse themselves in the ocean realm that exists right off the Oregon coast. A series of underwater walkways leads the visitor from the dark, quiet canyons of the Orford Reef, through the sparkling and teeming waters of Halibut Flats, and finally into the vast blue expanse of the Open Sea. As you pass through these three ecosystems, you symbolically move further into the Pacific Ocean, encountering vastly different animals along the way. Orford Reef: Located just offshore near Point Blanco, Orford Reef is a cluster of submerged haystack rock formations, only the tops of which are visible above water. Beneath the waves, the areas between these rocks form a deep reef of narrow crevasses and swaying forests of bull kelp which can reach lengths up to 100 feet (30 meters.) Far below the kelp forest, the reef provides a natural shelter from the weather and wave action, creating a stable refuge for a variety of species. One of the most predominant fish in the Orford Reef is the Rockfish, of which there are sixty different species in the Pacific Ocean. These predatory fish will often hang suspended in the still waters or hide among the drifting kelp as they stalk their unsuspecting prey. Halibut Flats: The stormy Oregon coast is often known as the “Graveyard of the Pacific” and here is proof. In Halibut Flats, ocean life finds shelter among the sunken skeleton of a long-forgotten ship. There’s more sunlight in Halibut Flats than there was in the narrow canyons or Orford Reef and the animals are more active. In ecosystems like this one, a tremendous number of interconnected species form a vibrant underwater community. Aside from the sturgeon, lingcod, halibut and flounder that constantly patrol the shipwreck, the sandy ocean floor is a resting ground for skates, a disk-shaped species of fish related to sharks and rays. You may have to look carefully, however, as the skates’ mottled coloring is the perfect camouflage for this region of dappled sunlight. Open Sea: The longest tunnel in Passages of the Deep also represents the world’s largest environment – the Open Sea. There are no towering kelp forests or narrow rocky channels here… just water as far as the eye can see. Most of the species represented in this exhibit live in the upper strata of water, commonly referred to as the Sunlit Zone. This area is alive with five species of shark, huge bat rays and great schools of anchovy and mackerel. The sharks are particularly popular with Aquarium visitors and all our species are native to Oregon coastal waters, including our largest specimen, the Broadnose Sevengill Shark.

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Visit our other great coastal locations: 1740 N. Coast Hwy. Newport, OR 97365 541-265-8355

1450 NE Hwy 101 Lincoln City, OR 97367 541-557-1911

2630 Hwy 101 Florence, OR 97439 541-997-7035

1609 Virginia Ave. North Bend, OR 97459 541-756-1562

Visit our other great locations: Bend, Eugene, Grants Pass, Medfod, Roseburg, and Springfield locations!

Passport to the central oregon coast  

A definitive guide to the Central Oregon Coast and all it has to offer.