Cooperation in Oregon Dunes NRA??
From Wildlands CPR website:
A Packed 24 Hours in the Oregon Dunes
Created by Sarah Peters on March 21, 2012
Well, this past weekend brought an action-packed overnight trip to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, and the beginning of what I hope is a successful partnership to work on Dunes restoration. The Oregon Dunes stretch along the central Oregon coast from just south of Florence to just north of Coos Bay (about 40 miles), and provide amazing recreation opportunities and breathtaking scenery.
After watching my alma mater Indiana University pull out a victory and make it to the Sweet Sixteen (Go Hoosiers!), I started off on my adventure near dusk, parking at my favorite trailhead in the Dunes, launching my backpack onto my back, and hiking in to find an overnight resting spot. I made it in time to set up my tent and enjoy the sunset, perched up in the heart of one of the nonmotorized sections of the Dunes.
View of the Pacific Ocean from my campsite in the nonmotorized section of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (notice the beachgrass taking hold in the open sand).
It still gets dark relatively early, and so there was plenty of tent time for reading, listening to the frogs serenade me, and some star gazing that was simply amazing. Of course, being that it is still winter on the Oregon Coast, I awoke around 3 am to strong winds and driving rain (possibly sleet) and sand. Luckily, my book was still handy, I was in my 5 degree sleeping bag, and my tent held up, so a few hours later, when the world around me settled down, I drifted back to sleep.
Dawn brought a lull in the rain/snow mixture just long enough for me to pack up and get started hiking out. And a short time later I was on my way south, heading to meet with Jody, from Save the Riders Dunes. Over coffee and breakfast, the sun came out and we talked about life and our mutual love of the Oregon Dunes. Jody is one of the nicest folks I've met in a while and has been recreating, both in vehicles and on foot, in the Dunes almost his entire life. It was great to get his perspective, and find that we do have lots in common.
Now for a confession. After breakfast, we headed to Riley Ranch to meet up with some other folks from Save the Riders Dunes, and via the newly opened Riley Ranch access route our group of a full size pickup, a three wheeler, two side by side UTVs, and several more four wheelers, made our way into the Dunes. This was my first time visiting the Dunes via motor, and thankfully Jody did all the driving in his pickup. He is an excellent driver, and I learned a lot both about how the Dunes move and about the history of the area. I also have to admit that though I enjoyed the company immensely, and I'd go again so long as Jody is driving, I'd still much rather be on my own two feet (sorry Jody!).
Part of our group riding in a portion of the Oregon Dunes open to cross country motor vehicle use.
After exploring the open dunes, and some of the nearby trails, by vehicle, we headed over to park near Spinreel Campground for my favorite part of the day. We hiked over the foredune and onto the beach, enjoying a gentle breeze and sunshine. Our destination was Tenmile Creek, an area where, years ago, the Forest Service did beach grass removal on the foredunes and created some of the best snowy plover habitat that exists on the Oregon Dunes.
Western snowy plover near Tenmile Creek in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.
This is what we had been talking all day about - removal of nonnative and highly invasive european beachgrass and restoration of the Dunes ecosystem, both for the plovers and for the riders. It was encouraging to see the plovers running around in the debris and beginning the process of mating and nesting. Just as it had been good for me to be with the riders as they enjoyed a beautiful, sunny day on the Oregon Dunes.
Here’s to hoping that Jody and I and the other folks who are passionate about the Dunes can continue on common ground as we take the next step of working with the Forest Service to try to save this special place.
Lance Rowland (not verified)
Wed, 03/21/2012 - 13:27
Re: Working Together
My comment is to reinforce the fact that both motorized and non-motorized groups can, may and must achieve harmony together within the ODNRA. Open sand is self-healing, thanks to Mother Nature's breezes. The fact that the beachgrass is hampering this natural self-healing effect needs to be rectified prior to loosing our dunes as we know them now and retain them for future generations.
reply.Barbara Rowland (not verified)
Wed, 03/21/2012 - 13:30
It was great meeting you Sarah, glad you enjoyed your time with us and to come to a mutual connect of the dunes...we all love the Dunes..
Fri, 03/23/2012 - 17:10
Thanks Barbara and Lance for your comments. It was definitely great to meet you both, and to get out on the Dunes with you, too.
reply.Dave Walters (not verified)
Sat, 03/24/2012 - 14:19
Sarah, I'm glad you were able to spent time with Lance and Barb! Their efforts in the Dunes make me smile. I grew up in Coos Bay, and have been in that sand since the late 50's. Rehabing those Dunes is a major project that needs to take place to return them to what they were 40 plus years ago. In other words, open sand! Please work with STRD to help this happen. You couldn't have better allies than the Rowlands.
reply.jim furnish (not verified)
Wed, 03/28/2012 - 15:34
your dunes trip
This item evoked many great memories. I was the Siuslaw Forest Supv (mid-90's) when we ensured the sanctity of the non-motorized recreation area you camped in. We also identified our highest priorities for beachgrass removal/plover habitat restoration. lt's wonderful to see that legacy working. The Dunes are truly a magical, unique area. Glad to see you at work down there!
From Save The Rider's Dunes Facebook wall:
A Monumental event happened 4/3/2012, STRD, Forest Service and enviromental Group Wildlands CPR, sat down together and had a meeting on preserving our beloved Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area..ODNRA..here is a summary....a letter that STRD president wrote about this historic event...
Yesterday, for the ...first time in the history of the Oregon Dunes, an environmental group; Wildlands CPR and an OHV group; Save the Riders Dunes (STRD) sat down with the Forest Service to discuss the future of the Oregon Dunes National Recreational Area (ODNRA). We all agreed we are losing the ODNRA to the unchecked growth of beach grass, scotch broom and shore pine. Restoration to open free flowing sand is our only hope to keep the ODNRA from certain death. All stake holders agreed that we can share the dunes. We also all agreed that we can work together and in doing so keep the areas most important to each of us healthy and manageable.
The ODNRA will never be open free flowing sand again. The area is too big and unwanted vegetation too widespread to eradicate it no matter how much money is available. The beach grass is just too tenacious. We need to focus our efforts of restoration on specific areas that will achieve 4 main objectives: Snowy Plover habitat, Open OHV areas, native plant communities and the visual beauty of the dunes themselves.
There were discussions on exactly how to accomplish these goals but first we need the organization and some basic knowledge to start the process. There needs to be two main groups initiated. One would be the stakeholders themselves. This would look similar to the 10C Work Group. Examples would be Enviros, OHV, USFS, BLM, Counties Corp of Engineers etc. The second group would be what is called the “Ologist”. (Biologist, Ecologist, and Botanist). They would begin to collect data like where is the native plant communities and where would be best to start foredune removal. We have set a goal to meet in mid-July time frame to keep the process moving. More information about who will be in the groups will be forthcoming.
We also need to look at creating an unbiased group like “Friends of the Dunes” or “Friends of the ODNRA” that can act as a non-profit to request grants and collect funds for restoration.
Specific to OHV are areas that are now open but heavily vegetated. In a few years there will be so much vegetation that we will not be able to ride there even though we are allowed to. The area just south of Spinreel and west of the open dunes is a good example. I call this area the “hidden dunes”. We must keep these areas designated 10B and OPEN. To do that we may have the ability to go in and pull shore pine, ride on beach grass and scotch broom. Basically restore these areas to open sand. It is a daunting task but we need to start somewhere.
All of us must thank Sarah Peters from Wildlands CPR for reaching across the aisle and be willing to work with us to restore the dunes. She came out a few weeks ago to meet STRD to get our side of the story. That took some serious courage to come into the enemy’s camp. We will all benefit. Together we will help the FS focus on the restoration of the ODNRA so all of us will have a say in how we can keep our riding areas open for future generations. For me personally that will always be my number one priority. In a few years I will see my Great-Grandchild riding a quad with me. Now that will bring tears to my eyes!
Thanks, Jody Phillips President, STRD
Bio of W_CPR staff who wrote the above and is meeting with STRD:
Sarah Peters, Legal Liaison/Staff Attorney (Oregon)
Sarah has a JD from the University of Oregon School of Law and a BS in Environmental Science from Indiana University. Sarah graduated from UO Law with certificates in Environmental and Natural Resources Law, Public Interest Law, and Pro Bono Work and is a member of the State Bars of Colorado (inactive), Montana, and Oregon. Sarah is on the board of Cascadia Wildlands and Friends of Land Air Water, as well as a member of a Bureau of Land Management Eugene District Resource Advisory Council.
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