Some getaways offer peace of mind with each stroke of a paddle and all you needs is a paddle, a life vest and a spirit of adventure at the new Beaver Creek State Park Natural Area near Newport.
I recently joined Mike Rivers – a twenty-year Oregon State Park veteran, on an adventure that provided a sneak peak to the new parkland that you can visit too.
It is unlike any state park you’ve ever visited before!
Beaver Creek is a relatively small 30-mile long coastal stream that is born in the Oregon coat range mountains and enters the ocean at another parkland called Ona Beach State Park, just south of Newport, Oregon.
We paddled stable, flat-bottomed kayaks through a stretch of the creek where the freshwater mixes with the salt.
Rivers told me that the creek is never more than six feet deep throughout its length, but it does rise and fall a bit with the tidal change
The new State Park Natural Area is nearly 400 acres of freshwater marsh and uplands and a place where the creek’s namesake animal – also the Oregon state animal - has made a remarkable comeback over the past forty years.
Their signs were everywhere, from chewed up alder sticks scattered on shore to large semi-submerged logs where beaver teeth appeared like double chisel-type marks on the wood to several large lodges.
“This time of year, the lodges are overgrown with brush and other vegetation,” noted Rivers. “They’re pretty impossible to see from a distance, but in a kayak you can sneak up and check them out pretty close. It’s pretty neat!”
In fact, our paddling was highlighted with close up views to varied birds rarely seen so close and included hawks, eagles and egrets.
Rivers added that the parkland includes seven miles of boat-accessible hiking trails leading through meadows and forests.
At the top of a nearby knoll, the new Beaver Creek Visitor Center - accessible by land or water - will offer maps, photos and information about the wildlife in the area when the park officially opens to the public on October 1.
Mike Rivers added, “This is really a first for Oregon State parks and yet there’s a demand for this kind of recreation that doesn’t really involve any kind of development at all; just a minimum impact, a minimum footprint on the landscape.”
For folks who wish to make their visit a longer stay, South Beach State Park Campground is just six miles away:
“At South Beach,” noted Rivers, “we often find ourselves as a hub for recreation and overnight stays. We have over 250 campsites – all full service campsites with electricity and water at each site. We’ve 27 yurts with electricity, water and indoor sleeping facilities: a futon couch and bunk bed.”
But it’s out on the water where you’ll likely find me – where nature’s touch soothes the soul at an Oregon State Park unlike any I’ve been before.
“It’s basically wilderness in the state park system and we’re thrilled with it, said Rivers. “We’re thinking of our children and their children who will come here too. This is a fabulous area.”
”Visitors can sign up for Beaver Creek guided tours at South Beach State Park that are led by a state park guide. The tours are offered daily between the 4th of July and Labor Day but special arrangements for group tours can be made for other times of the year too.
You can also learn more about Beaver Creek guided tours through the private tour operators: Northwest EcoExcursions in Depoe Bay, Ossies Surf Shop in Newport and Central Coast Rental Watersports in Florence.