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MILE 110 on 6/8/08   -   TRBISHOP
LOCATIONCoos  •  Merchants Beach, Seven Devils State Wayside
CONDITIONSSunday 11:00 AM  •  Sunny  •  Wind: Moderate from the N  •  Tide: -1 ft
HUMANSPeople: 7  •  Dogs: 1
ACTIVITIESWalking/running: 7  •  Playing in sand: 2  •  Sitting: 3
CONCERNSApparent violations: OC Trail access - see "General Comments"
NEW DEVELOPMENTOC Trail relocated - see "General Comments"
COMMENTSAction taken on the problem(s) mentioned
I'm concerned with the reduced access to the Oregon Coast Trail, presumably caused by the Bandon Dunes golf complex and housing developments. I started off with the intent to take advantage of the minus tides today and make a loop beginning at the Coast Trail off Tokyo Ln, hiking south to Whiskey Run beach, hiking the beach north around Five Mile Point, and then returning on the Coast Trail as it goes up the bluff and comes out on Tokyo Ln. For 25 years I have been accessing the trail at the 90 degree turn on Tokyo Ln. This access is now totally gone. A "No Parking" sign went up a few years back, which discouraged use because there is absolutely no other place to park. I used to park there anyway, just to hike the trail for monitoring. But now access to the old trail has been totally blocked with a locked gate as well - one that is not possible to walk around because it is fenced right into the dense gorse brush on either side. I found the old sign saying "Coast Trail (South)" attached to the 8-foot-high post removed and laying on the ground overgrown by vegetation. I then discovered a smaller post on the opposite side of the road that identified the trail north, but to see it required passing several signs that read "Private Road", Private Drive", "No Trespassing" and the like, and then there is an electronic locking gate across the road, but it is passable to walk around - which I did. I followed two more small posts (these new posts are approx. 3 1/2 feet high) and discovered that the trail had been relocated, crossing a pasture. It had very narrow access with trees growing in the center of the trail. One place had less than two feet between the tree trunk and the new fence. Eventually, I came out on the old trail that descended the bluff and made my way to the beach, although it was very overgrown. At the beach entrance, I found another new, short post, almost entirely overgrown, labled "Alternative Route". On the beach I met the man who lived in the house on the bluff above. He told me the trail south had been moved to a new location further east on Tokyo Ln. to go around the golf course, but it, too, had a locked gate. When I returned to my car, I drove down Tokyo road and found the access point 1/3 mile east of the original one, again with the smaller post and the locked gate, although it was possible to walk around it. There was no place to park, except for one car to park in front of the gate and block it. I did not hike this trail, so I don't know where it led, or where it comes out. It used to come out right at Wiskey Run beach, and offer wonderful views on the bluffs overlooking Five Mile Point. I also learned that this area is now a private, exclusive 14-hole golfcourse that reportedly has about one party playing it per day. This is the area that used to be the electric windmill generating farm a couple of decades ago, just north of Wiskey Run beach. It also had an interpretive display talking about the Native Americans who lived here, and the story of how Wiskey Run got it's name. Anybody else remember that? The trail I hiked on today, going from Toyko Ln. down to Merchants Beach, used to offer excellent bird-watching opportunities, but this also seems to have changed. Much of the original vegetation was erradicated to make the golf course and homesites. A lot of it was gorse, which is probably a good thing, but trees and vegetation were removed as well to plant grass. Call me sentimental, but this is the kind of progress I would rather live without in this beautiful, pristine area, when it decreases our quality of life rather than enhancing it. I can understand why the fortunate few who own such great property would like to discourage people from coming through, especially when some individuals are disrespectful or may even commit theft or vandalism, but isn't the intent of the law to preserve the beach for all to enjoy? Surely, when the property was purchased the buyers must have known that it had an established public trail running through the middle of it. I know access is not always protected, but I still feel like the public is getting the raw deal here - especially if my understanding is correct that Bandon Dunes does not have to pay property taxes. The letter of the law may be being followed (or maybe not?) but the spirit of preserving a valuable public resource is taking quite a beating. . . (FOOT NOTE: At the request of Coast Watch Coos County Coordinator, Diane Bilderback, I returned to take photos for the report. I also wanted to hike the trail between Tokyo Ln. and Whiskey Run beach to see where it led. This report continues with a follow up report on mile 109 on 06/15/2008.)
SUMMARYI began with the intention to hike the Oregon Coast Trail at the access point on Tokyo Lane that borders on the line between mile 109 and 110. I found the access unaccessible due to a recently installed locked gate with fencing on either side. There was no trace of the trail except for the signpost that I found removed and laying on the ground under the brush. I later discovered the trail had been moved and new access points constructed to the north and south on Tokyo Ln. Please see "General Comments" for a complete report. (Also - this report continues with a follow up report on mile 109 on 06/15/2008.)
OBSERVERTRBishop EMAIL   •  REPORT PUBLISHED 6/9/08 8:48 PM  •  EDITED 11/2/08 2:44 PM
Trail access blocked off Tokyo Ln., mile 110
Description:Trail access has been changed, which used to be here at the 90 degree turn on Tokyo Ln., approx 1 mile from Seven Devils Rd. (You can see the old trail signpost laying on the ground by the fence.) It has been relocated approx. 1/4 mile north and 1/3 mile east on Tokyo Ln. The entire trail from Toyko Ln. to Whiskey Run Beach has been moved, now coming out on Whiskey Run Ln. approximately 1 mile away from the beach.
Location:border of mile 109 and 110, 90 degree turn on Tokyo Ln., approx 1 mile from Seven Devils Rd.
New Trail going west of Tokyo Ln. to Merchants Beach
Description:This is a new fenced-in trail cutting through a small forest and then a pasture. It is accessed passed several "Private Property" and "No Trespassing" signs and a locked electronic gate accross Toyko Ln. It is very narrow with trees in the center of it. It eventually leads to the old, existing trail that descends the bluff to Merchants Beach.
Location:New trail access going north from the old access point on Tokyo Ln. past the locked electronic gate crossing the road approximately 1 mile from Seven Devils rd.
New Trail going west of Tokyo Ln. to Merchants Beach
Description:New fenced-in trail going west from Tokyo Ln., eventually joining the old trail that descends the bluff to Merchants beach.
Location:Trail just off Toyko Ln. approx. 1 mile from Seven Devils Rd., approx 1/6 mile past locked electronic gate accross the road.
Old Trail access point at 90 degree turn on Tokyo Ln.
Description:This is where we used to be able to park and access the trail going north to Merchants Beach and south to Whiskey Run Beach, which had spectacular panoramic views overlooking Five Mile Point and the shoreline north and south. These views are now exclusive to the golfers enjoying the private golf course. The new trail going from Tokyo Ln. to Whiskey Run Beach does not even offer a hint of the ocean.
Location:90 degree turn on Tokyo Ln. approx. 1 mile off Seven Devils Rd., mile 109-110 border
New trail access (going south) off Tokyo Ln.
Description:The trail has been relocated around the golf course, which comes out approx. 1 mile away from the beach on Whiskey Run Ln. (See 6-15-08 follow-up report on mile 109 for more details.) This move adds more than a mile to the hiking trail distance (using Tokyo Ln. and Whiskey Run Ln.) and results in the loss of the spectacular panoramic views overlooking the bluffs along Five Mile Point.
Location:Mile 109-110 border on Tokyo Ln. approx. 1/2 mile off of Seven Devils Rd.