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Surprising Unknowns of N. Oregon Coast's Necanicum River - A Wilder Seaside

Published 02/04/2019 at 4:53 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Surprising Unknowns of N. Oregon Coast's Necanicum River - A Wilder Seaside

(Seaside, Oregon) – Sandwiched between many of the attractions of the north Oregon coast town, slinking its way elegantly through Seaside, the Necanicum River is a slightly overlooked attraction.

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As with most landmarks, there’s much more to the story – more than meets the eye.

The mouth of the river sits at the border between Gearhart and Seaside. At Seaside, this is found via the 12th Ave. access. From Gearhart, head to G Street where it dead-ends, and walk the worn concrete and sandy path to the ocean. It’s almost a half mile to the absolute end of the beach here, but the beginning of the bay mouth starts a few hundred feet from the access.

Another hidden Oregon coast attraction happens at N. Holladay Dr. as you're coming into Seaside from the north. Across the street from the high school sits a viewpoint and park that are inexplicably unknown and not even part of any map. It's called Necanicum Estuary Park, and it's a simple parking lot with a viewing platform, some river access, and great views of the river as it rolls out to sea. The park is known as a hotspot for bird watchers.

The river is popular for all sorts of activities like boating, crabbing and fishing (although the sand bar at its mouth is not navigable).

Further inland, crabbing off the 12th Ave. bridge is a favorite. Some regulars say it’s virtually a sure thing if you’ve got the patience. You’ll need a permit from ODFW, a crab pot or hoop net and some sort of meat as bait.

Wildlife officials say the best times are during incoming tides in late summer or fall. If it’s been raining at all, this chases the crabs away, so try to keep a day’s distance from a rainstorm before dropping your pot. September through December gives you meatier crabs. Raw chicken is reportedly some of the best bait.

Quatat Park is another engaging riverside attraction. Here, they have concerts during the summer. But if nothing else, it’s a lovely little scenic respite from the maddening crowds of the bustling town.


Around here, little foot paddle boats can be rented so you can take a tour up and down the waterway. For the more adventurous, kayaks can be rented as well, where you can paddle upstream to the marshes and estuaries of the river and the Neacoxie and Neawanna creeks.

Right on that river is the Coast River Inn, splashed with a colorful mural of Lewis and Clark and other intricate details. You're overlooking the tranquil Necanicum River, yet with a short walk to the beach, the Promenade and even downtown attractions and amenities. Affordable yet pampering, some rooms come with kitchenettes, sofa sleepers, and patios. River view rooms include patios with chairs for lounging outside. 800 South Holladay Drive. Seaside, Oregon. (503) 738-8474.

Also up against the river: the River Inn at Seaside. Soaring (and private) balconies overlook the lapping waters, providing not just views of the river but also the mountains to the east. On-site fire pits allow you to roast marshmallows (or whatever your culinary preference), right next to the murmuring stream.

You're one block to downtown and all its dining, attractions and shops, and only two blocks to the famed sandy beaches. The River Inn at Seaside is singularly recognized for its hallways featuring local Seaside artists’ throughout the building. Each floor is specially decorated with a local artist from Seaside. 531 Avenue A, Seaside, Oregon. www.riverinnatseaside.com. 503-717-5744.

Getting deeper into the Necanicum’s background, a darker and stranger history emerges. That big, nasty earthquake and tsunami they’re expecting on the Oregon coast is given a shocking preview by studying the river.

According to local geologist Tom Horning, tsunamis have drastically altered Seaside in the past.

Something like 1200 years ago a major tsunami rushed through the area, and Horning believes it likely cut a gap in the dunes about where the Seaside Convention Center now sits. Eventually, that gap filled back up but it left a marsh (which later became the plot of land where the convention center now sits).

This massive tsunami likely altered the path of the Necanicum, creating the Neawanna Creek, however.

“It is likely that the big tsunami that cut the gap also may have been the flood that caused the Necanicum River to abandon its channel (now the Neawanna) near the base of the hills and jump to its present site, digging out a channel through the extensive round rock deposits that make up the south end of Seaside and the golf course,” Horning said. “Normal floods cannot move those rocks. Only powerful surf and tsunamis could possibly sculpt a channel and pirate away the river from its long-time position.”

That’s how powerful these tsunamis can be. Lodging in Seaside - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours - More photos below:



 



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