Oregon State Park Reminder: No Fireworks or Camping on Coast Beaches
(Oregon Coast) – It may seem like a good idea at the time, with all the sand and water around. But it turns out that shooting off fireworks on Oregon coast beaches is a big no-no. (Above: Cape Lookout State Park: fireworks and camping on the beach are not allowed)
Oregon's state parks and ocean beaches are inviting places for Fourth of July activities as long as they do not include setting off fireworks.
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) issued that reminder this week, pointing 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.
"The use of fireworks on the ocean beaches as well as in our parks without permits is a violation of park rules," said OPRD Ocean Shores Manager Jeff Farm. "We strictly enforce this law because of the immediate risk fireworks pose to both visitors and natural resources. They can hurt people, cause wildfires, threaten wildlife and create litter and debris."
Farm pointed to three fires alone at the north jetty in Florence in recent years, where beach grass caught on fire because of fireworks.
The beaches often seem like a good place to shoot off fireworks on the Oregon coast because of the wet sand, the ocean and dry, barren sand surrounding you. But Farm said that’s not the case in the eyes of the law.
“It doesn’t make any distinction for shooting off fireworks in wet sand or not,” Farm said.
Farm added that many different kind of wildlife could be affected, included protected birds.
The penalty for firing off the fiery stuff on beaches or within state parks could be as high around $400.
OPRD Beach Safety Education Coordinator Robert Smith also reminded people planning holiday coastal visits to "play it safe" on Oregon's ocean beaches.
"Although it's summer now, the basics still apply," said Smith. "Keep an eye on the ocean and watch for sneaker waves. Stay away from logs. Know when the tide is coming in. And, be careful on cliffs and rocks. Nothing can ruin Independence Day fun for yourself and others faster than ignoring those tips."
Camping is not a good idea anywhere, but whether or not it's illegal is confusing in Manzanita
Beach safety information can be found online at http://www.oregonbeachsafety.org.
Another point of contention and confusion among coastal tourists is whether or not to camp on the beach.
It is mostly illegal throughout much of the coast, said Farm. And where it isn’t illegal, it is simply not a good idea.
According to Dave Woody, a head Park Ranger with Oregon State Parks in Newport, camping is prohibited in a variety of places on the beaches. “Camping on the beach is prohibited in front of any State Park, within city limits of coastal towns, or if otherwise posted,” Woody said. “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. Parts of Manzanita may be open to camping, if you didn’t know better, because there is a specific ordinance there that targets a chunk of the beaches at the north end, with signage warnings. But no signs exist on the southern end of town, not far from the beginning of Nehalem Bay State Park.
State Park official maintain 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.”
Northern beaches of Florence: fires have started here in the beach grass because of fireworks
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