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Welcome to the multitude of outdoor wonders of
Oregon’s South Coast region!

It’s our hope that you’ll use our handy guidebooks in your explorations, and that’s why we strive to keep them as current as possible. We have personally visited and driven, hiked, biked or paddled all the places discussed in our books, and we try to revisit them on a regular basis.
Despite our best efforts, though, the inevitable march of time brings changes to the outdoor recreation scene. Sometimes the changes are positive, such as new places to go or new trails to hike. Other times the news isn’t so good. Budget pressures are causing a lot of strain on outdoor recreation opportunities.
That’s where this “Updates” page comes in. We can use it to make occasional notes on recent changes or developments. For example, the New Carissa shipwreck on Coos Bay’s North Spit (discussed on page 19 of “Out Our Back Door”) has been completely removed. Even though it was a popular tourist attraction, the state of Oregon deemed it a potential hazard, particularly since it was so close to shore. Officials were worried that people might try to board the shipwreck and get hurt. So, following a successful lawsuit against the ship owners, the state used the settlement money to have the ship removed.
Even without the shipwreck to view, however, the North Spit continues to be a popular destination.  In addition to beach walks, there’s a much-improved (and better marked) trail system for hikers and equestrians, and there are sand roads for those equipped with off-road vehicles. The trails are detailed in the book, “Out Our Back Door,” which also offers a trail map. And on the subject of shipwrecks, several older ones have become visible in the last year, thanks to big storms and shifting sands along the beaches. On the North Spit in the (former) vicinity of the New Carissa, visitors can check out the “bones” of the steam schooner George Olson, which was wrecked in 1944. Farther down the coast, near Bullards Beach State Park, are the remains of the schooner Acme, which went down in 1924.
In other news, South Slough National Estuarine Sanctuary’s North Trail (“Out Our Back Door,” page 21) has been completed, with the final link in the form of a footbridge that now allows hikers to make a loop connecting with other South Slough trails.
Among the many popular pastimes discussed in “Out Our Back Door” is the availability of former US Forest Service fire lookout towers and other sites for overnight rentals (page 177). Unfortunately, there was a typo in the web site address for the Rogue-Siskiyou National Forest. There’s a new website to check out all the regional rentals: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r6/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5290342#rrs . Once you’ve decided which one to rent, you’ll be directed to www.recreation.gov to fill out the correct forms. As discussed in the guidebook, this is a fantastic experience.
In other news, interest in the outdoors has spurred a greater participation in the local hiking group called South Coast Striders, which hosts twice-monthly hikes to all sorts of fun places. You can find a link to the group and get a schedule at www.coostrails.com.
Finally, a word of caution about signage in the back country. Sadly, it’s getting worse. Shrinking budgets for maintenance is the official answer, but vandals, souvenir hunters and target shooters wage a relentless siege. That’s why it’s important to use the mileages and other information in the books.
And keep your wits about you.

Road Closures
This is an ongoing issue, which is why you should always check local conditions before traveling too far afield. It’s much easier to just make a few phone calls than to drive for miles and hours only to encounter a “Road Closed” sign. So . . . check with whatever agency is in charge of the place you want to travel, such as the Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, state and county parks, etc. The numbers are listed in the back of all our guidebooks.
The winter/spring of 2012 was particularly rough on back roads of the South Coast region. Despite a tremendous clean-up effort, there were still many closures as summer approached. And some of the damages are so bad they might not be repaired for years to come. So again, check with local agencies. They’re very knowledgeable about these things and can save you time and frustration.
Recreation closures
Budget cutbacks at the Bureau of Land Management has forced the closure of several recreation areas discussed in “Out Our Back Door,” including the Bear Camp Recreation Area adjacent to Highway 42 discussed on page 98, and the Burnt Mountain Recreation on the Doerner Fir tour discussed on page 114. Some of their free  campgrounds that were open year round are now only open seasonally, so that would be another thing to check before you head out go camping.
New fees
Budget crunches have also forced agencies to raise fees, or to impose fees where none existed previously, such as at Coos County’s Laverene County park, discussed on page 108 of “Out Our Back Door.” Day-use had previously been free, but now a entry fee is required.
Mystery Map Symbols in “Out Our Back Door”
In the 2008 edition of “Out Our Back Door,” sharp-eyed readers may notice some strange-looking icons on five of the maps in the book. (They’re small dots or blocks, accompanied by triangle-shaped darts.) These are printer’s glitches, plain and simple. They don’t affect the accuracy of the maps in any way.

Canoe and Kayak Updates
Butterfield Lake: With the opening of Coos County’s Riley Ranch County Park in 2011, a new place to paddle was made available to the public. Butterfield Lake is a pretty little 20-acre body of water with about two miles of forested shoreline. It’s been in private hands for many years so hasn’t had many visitors, and there’s been no introduction of the invasive waterweed hydrilla.
Once you’ve paddled the main body of water, head to the west toward a railroad trestle. Floating logs may partially block the way, but there’s usually just enough water in a narrow channel to get into the western portion of the lake, which is beautiful. You can paddle north a little ways until floating logs get too dense. The deep dark water around the logs might look promising to anglers.
A berm at the south end of this part of the lake blocks further paddling, but it was scheduled to removed as part of the park’s improvement, so it might eventually be possible to paddle farther south, although there are lots of downed trees in this area, too.
Riley Ranch also offers direct vehicle and hiker access to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area via a new road that includes a bridge over the railroad tracks. It’s more popular with ATVers than hikers, though. So if you’re interested in more of a “walking experience,” try the Dellenback Dunes trail near Lakeside (page 54 of “Out Our Back Door,”, which goes into a vehicle-free part of the dunes.
Catching Slough:  As part of a project to improve the watershed, a dike was removed on the Catching Slough arm of the Coos Bay estuary. As a result, what was once a pasture is now a wetland that receives a twice-daily inundation by the tides. It also creates an inviting new body of water to paddle (at high tide). You can launch next to the vehicle bridge by the culvert that feeds and drains the new wetland area. It’s about 5 miles out Catching Slough Rd., which is discussed on page 86 of our book, “Oregon South Coast Canoe and Kayak Guide.”

Oregon South Coast Bicycle Ride Guide
Our newest guidebook is pretty much up to date, except as noted above there are road closures all over the region due to storm damage, so again, check local conditions before heading too far out there.
In a map of the Brookings area on page 135, an inset box refers to another map on “page xx.” That should read, “page 128,” which is another map of the nearby area.

Please Help Us Stay Up To Date
In closing, we want to encourage questions, comments or updates. Please feel free to contact us via e-mail: westways@frontier.com. Or call Westways Press in Coos Bay at (541)269-5833
Here are some other helpful paddling-related links:
Wavecrest  Discoveries offers land and waterway tours.  www.wavecrestdiscoveries.com
You can often also find information at www.coostrails.com
Contact us if you have any questions: westways@frontier.com
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Out Our Back Door
Driving Tours and Day Hikes in
Oregon's Coos Region

By Tom Baake
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Oregon South Coast
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Canoe and Kayaking
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Canoe and Kayaking
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By Ron Wardman
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