Sunday, July 22, 2012

Winchester Bay, the Umpqua River and the Oregon Dunes

 Just south of Newport is the town Reedsport on the Winchester Bay where the Umpqua River meets the Pacific. In fact, the Pacific is just a short way from this scenic setting where Orinda was impressed at the lack of wind (a rarity on the Pacific Coast).

 The area was a challenge to shipping and as a result, the Umpqua River Lighthouse shown here was built in 1891. located 165' above sea level, the lighthouse is still in use today and can be seen some 19 miles out to sea.

 The lighthouse station is also nearby and featured this original lifeboat that Rick was very impressed with. Given the large surf in the area, this boat is certainly not large enough to make us feel comfortable about heading out over the bar.

 The famous Oregon Dunes run through this area for some 40 miles and are huge.

 Popular with ATVs, these dunes are hundreds of feet high and seem to run forever along the coast. The day we visited had light wind, but even so, the sand was blowing throughout the area which causes the misty look in the photo.

 We saw lots of off-road vehicles charging around on the dunes. The drivers were pretty well covered up, including face masks to defeat the blowing sand. I will bet the sand is very impressive when there is a stiff wind.

We stopped at a small wayside run by the US Forest Service and lo and behold, who should we run into but Gifford Pinchot, first head of the Forest Service! Born in 1865, he looked really good for 147 years old! Actually, this re-enactment was very interesting as he described the Forest Service efforts in the area. 

 One thing Gifford told us about was the ill-fated effort to introduce European Beach Grass to the dunes area in the 1930's. This grass thrived and rapidly spread across the dunes. In fact, the line of trees in the middle of the photo above, was not there 20 years ago; rather, it was pure sand. The grass, planted by the Forest Service (and others), stabilized the dunes, allowed the growth of trees and may eliminate the famous dunes over time. Gifford made sure we knew he was not in favor of this move!

1 comment:

Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

Great pictures, especially the Coast Guard ones:)