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Forest Preserve on N. Oregon Coast Opens, Featuring Tallest Cedar in State

Published 05/17/2019 at 2:53 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Forest Preserve on N. Oregon Coast Opens, Featuring Tallest Tree in State

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(Rockaway Beach, Oregon) – A new nature preserve on the Oregon coast officially opens up its boardwalk on June 15, hosting an unusual natural wonder: the highest cedar tree in Oregon, and perhaps among the tallest trees in the state.

Rockaway Beach locals have known about it for almost 20 years, but other than that it’s been a soaring secret. City officials describe the land – sitting just behind a residential neighborhood in the north Oregon coast town – as a pure forest primeval that has managed to survive the millennia, in spite of heavy logging in the area.

Now, what’s called the Rockaway Beach Old Growth Cedar Wetlands Preserve is officially opening up its boardwalk, which includes a deck around the gigantic cedar that is pushing the record books. This the nature preserve’s boardwalk phase one, with the grand opening at 10 a.m.

The giant western red cedar is estimated to be between 500 to 900 years old, clocking in at 154 ft tall and 49 ft in circumference. In 2007, the group Ascending The Giants (https://www.facebook.com/ascendingthegiants/) officially measured the tree and with their rating system, gave it 756 points, 130 points higher than the previous Oregon state champion.

The 46-acre Old Growth Cedar swamp was given to Rockaway Beach in September 2001 as a unique ecosystem to preserve. Containing high quality - and in some cases rare - examples of trees that are unique to this preserve alone. It is the only type of preserve between Alaska and California for the purpose of protecting a tree. This stunning ancient-growth forest includes an upland as well as a lowland forest and includes Sitka Spruce, Western Hemlock, Western Red Cedar and Red Alder.

Within this wetlands area are two streams that flow right through: the Saltair Creek and Heitmiller Creek. The creeks converge just southwest of the viewing platform and flow underneath the boardwalk next to the trail to the Big Cedar. The trail is rugged and should be taken with caution. Phase 2 of the project will provide a boardwalk connecting the viewing platform to the Big Cedar and a replacement deck around the tree.

All this started with the Nature Conservancy gifting the land to the city of Rockaway Beach back in 2000. Coupled with a grant from the Oregon Department of Land Conservancy and Development, the city built the deck around the giant cedar to protect its roots.

To find the preserve, take Washington St., right off Highway 101, and head away from the ocean. You’ll soon encounter Island Street, where you take a right and you’ll find the trailhead. The entire hike is about a mile long.

Phase two of the project will add a parking lot and official trail. Lodging in Rockaway Beach - Where to eat - Rockaway Beach Maps and Virtual Tours . More on Rockaway below:

Beachcomber Vacation Homes.  Numerous vacation rentals in the Cannon Beach area, including Falcon Cove and Arch Cape. Depending on the home, you may find amenities and luxuries such as a barbecue, claw foot tub, a ship's ladder. 115 Sunset Blvd. Cannon Beach, Oregon. 855-219-4758. 503-436-4500. Website.





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