Due to poor weather forecasted for May 18, the grand opening of the Rockaway Beach Nature Preserve walkway was rescheduled 10 a.m. om June 15. It will be held at the Nature Preserve trailhead located off Highway 101, just north of Washington Street in Rockaway Beach.
This preserve began as a gift from The Nature Conservancy in 2000. And with a grant from the Department of Land Conservancy and Development, the deck around the giant cedar was built to protect the tree and its roots.
The giant western red cedar is estimated to be between 500 and 900 years old and is 154-feet tall, 49-feet around. In 2007, the group Ascending The Giants (facebook.com/ascendingthegiants/) officially measured the tree and with their rating system, gave it 756 points, 130 points higher than the previous Oregon state champion.
The 46-acre old growth Cedar swamp was given to Rockaway Beach in Sept 2001 as a unique ecosystem to preserve. Containing high quality and in some cases, rare examples of trees unique to the preserve. It is the only type of preserve between Alaska and California for the purpose of protecting a tree, according to the City of Rockaway Beach.
The preserve includes an upland as well as a lowland forest and includes Sitka Spruce, Western Hemlock, Western Red Cedar and Red Alder.
There are two streams flowing through the wetlands, Saltair Creek and Heitmiller Creek. The creeks converge just southwest of the viewing platform and flow underneath the boardwalk next to the trail to the Big Cedar.
The trail is rugged and should be taken with caution. Phase 2 of the project will provide a boardwalk connecting the viewing platform to the Big Cedar and a replacement deck around the tree.
Here is a video overview of the project: youtu.be/zrBiiKu5oBE
Here is a pdf with some history of the project: corb.us/vertical/sites/%7B087A747C-D4DD-4132-9CE8-8372D0E33390%7D/uploads/Old_growth.pdf