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Fee Changes, More Noise Compliance at Oregon Coast's Dunes Rec Area

Published 06/05/23 at 6:20 a.m.
B
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Changes, More Noise Compliance at Oregon Coast's Dunes Rec Area

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(Florence, Oregon) – Some minor changes and safety reminders are in store for visitors to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area as staff from Siuslaw National Forest ready the 40-mile Oregon coast attraction for the busy season. There are new ways to pay entrance fees at some dunes entrance spots, and there will be a greater emphasis on safety and noise compliance with off-highway vehicles (OHV's) this summer.

The Florence Chamber of Commerce is joining in with Siuslaw staff to remind visitors of safety issues as well.

Siuslaw staff say you'll notice automated fee machines have now replaced the classic “iron ranger” tubes, which is actually part of a nationwide move on the part of federal park officials. These campgrounds and day use areas no longer accept cash or checks, with only credit / debit cards now accepted.

Vandalism and theft had taken its toll on the system in recent years, along with threats to employee safety.

Alternative payment options are also available. Annual and day use passes can be purchased online or from district offices. Day use passes are also offered via Recreation.gov (https://www.recreation.gov/sitepass/74427) and many facilities have signage with a QR code that can be scanned by phone for convenience.

Campgrounds and trails are getting spruced up for the summer run, and that will include more signage regarding safety and noise, along with sound monitoring activities by park authorities. Among the changes there are courtesy sound checks, sound enforcement checkpoints, and sound education programming.

Forest Service staff will partner with other agencies to keep sound levels in check all along these vast Oregon coast dunes, which includes sound outreach education.

“[It's] intended to help OHV riders understand what the sound limit is, why it’s important, and how to comply. OHVs found to be in violation of the sound limit may be subject to citation,” said Central Coast Deputy District Ranger Jeremy Aujero. “As a multi-use recreation area, there is a place here for everyone. With that in mind, we’d like to remind visitors to respect closures, out-of-bound zones, noise limits, and quiet hours. We appreciate everyone’s help to care for the land and provide a family-friendly place where people can visit for generations to come.”

Florence Area Chamber of Commerce president/CEO Bettina Hannigan echoed Aujero’s comments.

“Every season we look forward to welcoming dune users to Florence,” she said. “The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area starts here in Florence and continues south 40-plus miles to the Coos Bay/North Bend area. The dunes are one of many reasons Florence is known as Oregon’s Coastal Playground.”

Aujero said excessive sound poses a potential disturbance to adjacent landowners, other recreationists, and sensitive wildlife.

Currently, the OHV sound limit for the Dunes rec area is 93 decibels, as measured from an OHV’s tailpipe while the vehicle is stationary.

The Siuslaw National Forest reports that several scheduled events at the ODRNA may increase visitation at various times:

• UTV Takeover: June 21-25. Expect heavy traffic Horsfall and Hauser area and the entire southern portion of the dunes. Some entrances may have restricted access.

•Dune Fest: August 8-13. Expect heavy traffic in the Umpqua Day Use areas. Some entrances may have restricted access.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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