The Oregon Coast Trail (OCT) starts at the mouth of the Columbia River and spans the Oregon coastline to California covering 382 miles and crossing 28 coastal towns including the City of Manzanita. The trail follows the beach for the most part and also crosses state parks and public lands. There are portions of the trail – gaps – that force hikers to walk along the narrow shoulder of US Highway 101. One such gap occurs between the south Neahkahnie Trailhead and Manzanita where hikers follow HWY 101 to Nehalem Road (see map, provided by www.oregon.gov @ www.oregon.gov/oprd/PARKS/pages/oct_2.aspx)
With their recent acquisition of 111 acres of land on the south side of Neahkahnie Mountain, the Lower Nehalem Community Trust (LNCT) has become a partner in closing this gap, providing access for new sections of the trail that will take hikers off of HWY 101 and connect the Neahkahnie Mountain Trail portion of the Oregon Coast Trail directly to Manzanita. Hikers will be safer, first and foremost, and will enjoy a more aesthetic hiking experience.
The Lower Nehalem Community Trust, along with other organizations like the Trail Keepers of Oregon (TKO), have started work to construct and maintain the portions of the trail that cross the 111 acre parcel called “The Headwaters” so named because it is the upper most portion – the headwaters – of Neahkahnie Creek and Alder Creek watersheds.
“While our focus is on protecting land in the Nehalem region of the north coast of Oregon, we are excited to open a large parcel of our conserved land to a trail that crosses every coastal county in Oregon and connects people from all over the world.” Ginnette Marberry, Operations Coordinator for the Lower Nehalem Community Trust.