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Pacific City Beaches – To Drive or Not to Drive?

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD), at the request of Tillamook County, has proposed restricting driving and parking on two sections of beach in Pacific City. Public comment is due by February 12, 2021 at 5 pm.

Surfrider recognizes coastal recreation is critical to Oregonians’ way of life and coastal economies; and, that those activities must be appropriately managed to balance the preservation and stewardship of these important resources. We also view beach access as a universal right and necessary for the public’s enjoyment of the beach (see more about Surfrider Foundation’s policy on beach access).

Emergency beach closures due to the pandemic have given us a glimpse into the type of beach experience we can have if the State permanently closes vehicular access to Pacific City-area beaches. Many locals and visitors alike have enjoyed the quieter, safer beach atmosphere without fear of children or dogs (or surfboards) being hit by a vehicle.

Which beach experience do you prefer?

Photos by Ben Moon

While we support this rulemaking process, we have major concerns about beach access in Pacific City due to Tillamook County’s new day use fee. On January 1, 2021, Tillamook County implemented a new $10 day use fee in Pacific City at Cape Kiwanda and the Turnaround (and a boat launch fee for Hungry Harbor), leaving Bob Straub State Park as the only free beach access in the Pacific City area.

The $10 day use fee combined with no free parking on the beach creates an exclusive beach access for families and individuals that can afford the leisure expense. Exclusive use is not consistent with the spirit of Oregon’s Beach Bill, nor OPRD’s efforts to be more inclusive and engage more diverse audiences.

Surfrider is calling on our supporters to provide public comment in favor of the proposed rule language with the following changes:

  1. Close the beach to vehicular access from the Hungry Harbor Boat Ramp south to the mouth of the Nestucca River. (It is important to note our Three Capes Organizing Committee based in Pacific City supports also closing Cape Kiwanda north to the mouth of Sand Lake.)
  2. For the area north of the Hungry Harbor Boat Ramp to the foot of Cape Kiwanda, vehicle access shall be permitted for any recreational activity where use of a vehicle is required for the safety of the activity or the feasibility of the activity (launching or support of vessels boats).
  1. Vehicle access shall be permitted for any recreational activity where use of a vehicle is required for the special needs of an individual or group (ex. ADA).

We also request that OPRD work with Tillamook County to revise their fee schedule and ensure all Oregonians and visitors have access to the beach in Pacific City, regardless of their economic status, once free parking on the beach is closed.

For a full list of resources, including maps, proposed rule language, and more, visit the OPRD website.

Surfrider's public comment regarding rulemaking:

To voice your support for closing the proposed sections of beach to vehicles , fill out the form at the bottom of this webpage or email by February 12, 2021 at 5 pm.

If you are concerned about the impacts of Tillamook County’s new $10 day use fee, please include that in your comments to OPRD and also contact the Tillamook County Commission about your concerns (contact information below).

Phone: 503-842-3403

Email (send to all of these addresses):,,,,