Bill Sullivan: New Oregon Coast Trails

November 22, 2002

Something has to give! Either we stop inviting excellent speakers like Bill Sullivan or we build an annex on the Lodge meeting room. He set a record with over a hundred enthusiastic members and guests that overflowed to the upstairs Board Room!

Bill finds that about every seven years enough changes occur to warrant a new edition of his hiking books. Indeed, there are about ten new trails and ten improved trails in the new edition of the “Oregon Coast and Coast Range” book (about 20 percent of the text). The coast is perhaps unique as a hiking venue in that the 363-mile-long narrow strip (from Long Beach Washington to the California Redwood National Park) has a wide variety of interesting features.

Bill divided his lecture trek down the coast into four categories of interest: Lewis & Clark, waterfalls, ocean views and redwoods. His observations on flora and fauna and geological features is not surprising in view of his expressed love of the land of Oregon. But in addition, Bill’s great interest in history was also woven throughout his talk, which made for a fascinating trek down the entire coast. Only a few highlights can be noted here.

New trails now make it possible to retrace virtually all of the steps taken by Lewis & Clark in the area below the mouth of the Columbia River. Although one may tend to not associate the coast with falls, Bill has tallied 71 falls worthy of note on the coast! The section of the coast with the most spectacular views start at the much photographed Heceta Head. Cape Arago is perhaps the most noteworthy (it also harbors much mammal sea life). New trails of interest that originate virtually right out of populated areas are to be found at Lincoln City, Shore Acres Park, Port Orford and Bandon (Bill’s favorite coast city). Crossing the New River on the latter trail (it cannot be forded) accesses a unique 10-mile-long pristine peninsula. There are new trails in the California Redwoods to the “Tall Trees” and to a bomb crater of World War II. A small Oregon Heritage redwood tree was planted there as a symbol of hope for world peace by the now aged Japanese pilot who launched the bomb — the good note on which Bill closed his talk.

Bep Fontana

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