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N. Oregon Coast's Ecola State Park Closed for Weeks Due to Road Issue

Published 11/23/21 at 4:52 AM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

N. Oregon Coast's Ecola State Park Closed for Weeks Due to Road Issue

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(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – A north Oregon coast favorite will be closed for weeks - again.

Ecola State Park at Cannon Beach was shut down this weekend until further notice, after the only road going into the park was damaged. Heavy rains created a sinkhole nearby, according to Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD), which reengaged a longstanding landslide that in turn caused a fissure in the road.

“OPRD staff will evaluate the best way to repair the damage,” said Park Manager Ben Cox. “It could take several weeks or longer to reopen the park.”

Cox said the road had been taking a beating for many years from stormy Oregon coast weather and erosion, as well as the heavy traffic in and out. This stretch - indeed the park itself - has quite a history of being closed down for such reasons.

“We want to thank visitors for their patience while we make the necessary repairs to allow safe passage,” Cox said.

Visitors can still access the park through the Tillamook Head Trail starting at Seaside, but that is a few miles worth of a hike.

This spot has been a major problem in recent years, and landslides have plagued the north Oregon coast landmark for decades.

A major road washout occurred there in 2017, damage that continued to affect the spot thereafter. In February of 2020, it had already been worked on again when the road was once more shut down for a few months after a landslide took out a chunk of the road. Park rangers had to escort all visitors out that day.

The landslide also cut off the water main to Ecola State Park, which disconnected its running water.

In fall of 2019, the road was shut down for ten weeks for road repair in another area.

Landslide in 1961

The largest closure came well after a major disaster in 1961, when winter storms caused more than one landslide to smother the area, washing out acres of trees and obliterating the main viewpoint at the time.

Months later, during summer, Ecola State Park hadn't been restored much at all and still posed many dangers. But these were less enlightened times and the park had not been shut down. It took a 12-year-old girl who went missing in the morass of logs and debris to finally close off the park, after Oregon coast officials suddenly had a death to deal with.

After three days, searchers were just hours away from giving up when she was miraculously found. It was only then that officials closed off the area until it was repaired.

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