Gov. Oswald West astride Fred the Freak, 1911 (photo: Oregon Parks and Recreation Department)
“Oregon is an inspiration.” — Gov. Tom McCall, photographed in front of the Surfsand Hotel, Cannon Beach, 1967 (photo: Oregon Historical Society)
One day in 1911, newly elected Oregon Governor Oswald West mounted his saddle horse, Fred the Freak, at the mouth of Ecola Creek in Cannon Beach and rode south—down the beach to Arch Cape, up and over Cape Falcon and Neahkahnie Mountain, and all the way to Nehalem. As he later wrote, “That was when and where I caught my inspiration” for his signature achievement: declaring every beach in Oregon a public right-of-way.
A half-century later, Governor Tom McCall was inspired by Gov. West’s efforts—and by steps taken by a Cannon Beach hotel owner to claim a portion of the beach for private use—to broaden that protection by championing the Oregon Beach Bill in 1967.
These coastal conservation pioneers are the inspiration for the route we’ve chosen for CoastWalk Oregon 2017.
“Thanks for the opportunity to support such a great mission in such a fun way!”
—Cheryl, Portland OR
We’ll start our trek in spectacular Ecola State Park, then we’ll walk in the hoofprints of Fred the Freak down Cannon Beach to Arch Cape. Day Two takes us on forested paths through Oswald West State Park: over Arch Cape Creek, out to Cape Falcon, and past Short Sand Beach to the foot of Neahkahnie Mountain. Day Three begins with an ascent of Neahkahnie Mountain; from there we’ll drop down to the beach and follow it south to the tip of Nehalem Spit, where we’ll catch a boat ride across the mouth of Nehalem Bay. The day ends with lunch and a celebration of our achievement at Nehalem Bay State Park. In cooperation with our partners at Oregon State Parks, we will be encouraging participants to follow a leave-no-trace ethic throughout CoastWalk Oregon.
Thank you to Astoria artist Sally Lackaff , who reimagined Gov. West and Fred the Freak at Haystack Rock in a special commemorative image for CoastWalk Oregon 2017.