Oregon Coast Safety Reminders for Holiday: No Fireworks, Camping on Beaches
(Oregon Coast) – Camping on the beaches sounds like a good idea this holiday weekend. So does shooting off fireworks, with a big body of water nearby (above: Cape Perpetua, near Yachats).
It turns shooting off fireworks on all Oregon beaches is against the law, and camping on the beaches is prohibited on most of the coast – and it’s simply a bad idea for a number of reasons if it isn’t outright illegal.
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) points out fireworks - including sparklers - are prohibited in all state parks in Oregon and banned on the state's beaches. Only fireworks managed as part of Independence Day community events with pre-approved permits are allowed.
While beaches may seem like a safe place to shoot them off, they’re prohibited because of the beach grass nearby – and fireworks of any kind are prohibited at all state parks around Oregon.
The penalty for firing off the fiery stuff on beaches or within state parks could be as high around $400.
OPRD points to several fires started in beach grass a few years ago in the Florence area because of fireworks.
Cannon Beach has outlawed fireworks of all kinds within city limits.
Camping is outright prohibited on most beaches.
“Camping on the beach is prohibited in front of any State Park, within city limits of coastal towns, or if otherwise posted,” said OPRD park ranger Dave Woody. “For instance, camping on the beach at Cannon Beach is prohibited by City ordinance. Camping on Nehalem spit is prohibited because it is in front of a State Park. Camping on Clatsop Beach is prohibited due to State and County ordinance.”
Guidelines like this make it a little hard to follow, so even if there aren’t obvious signs prohibiting camping nearby it still may be illegal to do so, and you could get rousted in the middle of the night and fined. So state park officials say it’s simply best to not try camping anywhere on the beach, as it’s hard to tell where you may get ticketed.
Woody cited several reasons it’s not a smart move - beyond the whole aspect of where do you go to the bathroom.
“Aside from high tides and rolling logs, the other hazards I can think of might be rocks rolling off the bank,” Woody said. “This has happened once that I can remember. Or people looking for an easy target to scare or terrorize. This has happened too.”
OPRD Beach Safety Education Coordinator Robert Smith said this time of year is also a good time to remind people to play it safe on the beaches. He urged visitors to keep an eye on the ocean, watch for sneaker waves, stay clear of logs and know when the tides are coming in.
“And, be careful on cliffs and rocks” Smith said. “Nothing can ruin Independence Day fun for yourself and others faster than ignoring those tips."
Beach safety information can be found online at http://www.oregonbeachsafety.org.
Cape Mears, near Oceanside
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