Please submit any questions or comments regarding the Beltz Property Master Plan to:

David Stipe, Manager
Design + Planning Section
Oregon Parks & Recreation Department
725 Summer Street N.E. Suite C
Salem, OR 97301

  1. I wanted to thank you and your team for an excellent presentation and discussion at last night’s public meeting in Pacific City. After some thinking about the proposed changes, I like the parking lot, trail plans, dike road graveling, view sites, (plus restricting equestrian and bicycling use). The one area that concerns me are the modification plans for the tidal water flow. By everyone’s admission, we have a rare, unique and “nearly” pristine estuary, where protection and conservation is top priority, along with recreation and education. The existing tidal flow, while not original, has been in a relatively steady state condition for many decades, and the unique flora (including the Sitka Sedge) and fauna are a result of these conditions. To experiment with the introduction of major changes to the hydrology of the estuary based on some global ideals of “restoration” and improving local ocean fisheries is a risk I’d rather not take. History is full of examples of good intentions leading to unintended consequences. I’d hate to end up with a mosquito laden mud-pit because we wanted to “improve” our estuary. Please keep in mind what your primary objectives are, and avoid trying to “solve world hunger” because you have the opportunity. Do that on someone else’s estuary.
    Thanks again for last night’s presentations and for listening to me ramble.


  2. I was thinking it would neat if you can plant, or transplant, some Sitka Sedge, and plant it in appropriate spots around the parking lot, or near the picnic tables near the parking lot. Someplace where you could place a small ID sign showing what it was and easily accessible. Since this sedge is apparently only growing in a couple of isolated spots in the park right now (if I read the map right), it may keep people from trying to tramp down areas to try and find some on their own. I have transplanted Slough Sedge into my back yard in Salem and it is really hardly, especially if planted in a predominantly shady area. Thanks, Jim


  3. Thanks for organizing the meeting in Wilsonville last night. It was very informative for my wife and I, and we appreciated being able to express our concerns and ideas. I loved the maps you had up and was amazed that your botanist had identified over 300 varieties of plants and trees. Thanks, Jim


  4. Sorry I was not able to attend the public meetings. I read in the PC Sun that the plan is to put gravel on the dike trail. I’m wondering if it would be possible to use a material that’s quieter underfoot. Because it is so noisy to walk on, gravel is terrible for birdwatching! How about woodchips or bark, instead? Thank you!


  5. This Beltz / Sitka Sedge Natural area is surely an exciting prospect for nature lovers who live near enough to visit there, or like us, travel to that area in the summer in our RV. A fabulous opportunity for us to camp there and take to trails to see the beautiful area and enjoy the wildlife. I have read some proposals to designate the north end of the beach area as clothing optional (CO) similar to Rooster Rock and Collins Beach. It surely would be an injustice to simple nudist to be denied that opportunity. The other CO areas do have a nice beach, but neither one is on the ocean coast like Sitka Sedge. So, please do designate that north end as CO like Oregon’s two other beaches. I have visited both of those beaches and found the folks there to be peaceful and friendly to chat with and would not be offensive to any beach visitor.

    Thank you for your consideration.
    Respectfully submitted
    Irby White
    Globe, Arizona


  6. Looking at the cons on the initial park purchase, most centered around the question of how this park would add to the economic viatlity of Sandlake Valley and Tillamook County. I think it has a great potential to do that but there needs to be facilities provided. At Kilchis Point, now a popular distination, they are removing the porta potty and installing a flush toilet at the trailhead. The same is needed at Sitka Sedge. There is also a porta potty near the bird viewing station, a good idea for Sitka Sedge too.

    The origional parking area at Kilchis Point has already been expanded and now has “overflow” capacity. I think the same is needed here. This park has more visibility than Clay Meyers, and while not Oswald West, the draw I think will be similar to Cape Mears Lighthouse. We are talking a real economic engine here.

    Trail surfacing with wood chips is quiet and seems durable when contained and protected with a weed discourging barrier below. Maybe a mixture of chips and gravel. Pure gravel seems harsh, but if a viewing station porta potty is incuded, I would support it to provide service access.

    There is a documented desire for hiking trails. The lengths of the beach access and others make for a good afternoon walk, and look well designed. I do think there could be a very good trail that goes into the forest east of the parking area. With a viewpoint cutout, it would provide a unique public non-motorized experiance of the Sandlake Estuary. This might also work as a horse trail area, as the current plan keeps them off the designed trail system.

    As Irby White noted, let’s create a areas for a wide diversity of users. Visitation to Tillamook is one of our economic engines. Why not a clothing optional designated section at the north end of the beach. With the current Snowy Plover rules it would be good to have people who are generally very consious of the environment be part of the protection plan. It has worked in other parts of the Country.


  7. From the onset we were told our comments mattered. And the Parks wanted to be good neighbors. I hope my voice is heard.

    In the latest “final” draft of the Master Plan, you are not implementing a flushing toilet. Even though it has been brought to your attention that access to existing sewer is readily available. The smell from a vault toilet will detract from a picnic area no matter how often it is emptied. There need not be an extra porta potty on the dike, besides they can not access equipment out on the dike to empty it. They can walk back and use the one in the parking lot. Isn’t the idea to keep the estuary “natural”?

    I live next door and have studied and witnessed first hand how traffic flows. The stretch of road adjacent to the parking lot is the only clear view and even though it is a double line, cars, trucks and RV’s routinely speed up to pass at times in excess of 70 mph. Not having a turn out lane will only result in crashes and fatalities.

    Since the inception of Sitka Sedge Park, not once was fish passage mentioned until this last January. Parks planning should have mentioned from the start this “vital” piece of information as it could so drastically affect the home owners of Tierra Del Mar with the evident probability of more flooding. And change the existing ecosystems. There are so many options that have been presented for viable fish passage without breaching the dike. First and foremost would be to utilize existing Reneke Creek to flow in the channel on the north side of the dike. I understand you see the importance of better science on the ground water study over a greater period of time.

    I don’t think it’s appropriate to allow a clothing optional area in Tierra Del Mar. From my experience, it’s only the the old fat men that use it to troll and not the young good looking bodies. It would be an assailment to my senses.

    Keeping the existing park trails, and putting viewing areas where there already is foot traffic is good. But putting shelters, picnic tables, and platforms on the two large mounds where coyotes have been seen to cavort is not in keeping with natural beauty. I agree with the birders, gravel is not the best medium as it is noisy underfoot.

    On the issue of hunting game birds. You’ve gone to great lengths to bring about conditions to encourage snowed plovers, which is a good thing. So what on earth are you thinking allowing guns where families will be??? Your mission statement is to protect and preserve. Protect all wildlife and people.

    I do hope you all take a deep breath, listen to your neighbors, and act on the best interests of the community of Tierra Del Mar, because once you’ve implemented you plan and all it encompasses there is no going back.

    Kathleen Miller


  8. I am a home owner in Tierra del Mar. I have hiked through the Beltz farm property for years and cherish the beauty and serenity of the “dike walk” to the beach. I am happy that this area has become part of our state park system but have deep concerns about the plans to develop it. I do not support hunting on the property and feel this could be a safety concern for hikers. I am also uninterested in seeing parts of the property being designated “clothing optional”. I appreciate the natural beauty of the land and would find it unnerving to be startled by a naked individual in this remote location. I also feel allowing overnight camping could jeporadize the delicate ecosystem.

    I am worried that the vault toilet system that has been proposed will be inadequete for the visitors to the park AND the large number of people passing by, such as tourists and bicycle traffic. I think a flushing toilet system should be strongly considered.

    I understand there is no turn off lane planned for the parking lot. Traffic travels very fast on that stretch of Sandlake Highway, and I fear it will be a matter of time before there is an accident or fatality at that spot.

    The hydrology study (p.17) discusses measurements from March 2016 in Tierra del Mar. How can anyone consider such a limited study to be an accurate representation of the water levels, especially since some of our heaviest rain fall occured in December 2016? Eloise Ave. was largely underwater. Breeching the dike and potentially causing more flooding will render property in Tierra del Mar unusable. A thorough hydrology study has got to be a part of the comprehensive plan, and vital to decision making regarding changes to the dike!

    The state’s assistance from the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant should not rush a plan that has not been carefully researched and developed with thoughtful input from the community. I would appreciate my comments to be made part of the public record and not simply be included in a summary.


  9. Elizabeth O. Meskimen

    As a whole the draft plan for Sitka Sedge SNA is well thought out and compiled.
    I have, however, concerns regarding the tidal flow modifications for the dike. In most references to it with in this plan, there are comments regarding further study needed or that the study done was limited in scope.

    On page 16 there is mention of a hydrology assessment. It states the “study will look at the fluvial and tidal hydrology and hydraulics.” On page 17 it continues with a description of a ground water study initiated in March of this year. The study was based on a one month collection period. That is not a study! Had the study started in December, they would have found streets flooded, ditches filled and flowing onto Sand Lake Road, and homes uninhabitable due to septic problems caused by high water. Any study of rain/tidal influences on the coast should be a multi-year study since anyone living on the coast knows every year is different!

    Raising the water level will cause problems on Sand Lake Road since areas are frequently flooded by streams/ditches overflowing during heavy rains and high tides in the winter months.

    On page 53 the plan states “that Beltz and Reneke Creeks have low habitat value.” It confirms that the findings of small stream size, higher than desirable gradients, lack of pools and large wood are causing the low quality for fish. “These findings need to be verified prior to committing projects to increase fish passages.”

    Further statements on that page conclude that impacts from opening a gap in the dike could threaten the rest of the structure and therefore additional geotechnical studies are needed.
    According to the entire plan, the concept for the Sitka Sedge SNA is to bring people in to appreciate the beauty of the area and its flora and fauna. Yet Figures 6.4a and 6.4b and the accompanying text show any breaching of the dike will alter that beauty, turning significant portions into unattractive mud flats. It will also threaten the dike itself which seems to be the centerpiece of the plan.

    Hence I would suggest that any section dealing with the breaching of the dike for fish passages and presentation be removed and delayed until all studies and investigations are completed.


  10. Kathleen Miller

    You flat out stated that you are doing a vault toilet. Your only arguments to not doing a flush toilet were, you don’t typically put flush toilets in day use. That is simply false. There are many examples all over Oregon. But the best one is right down the road, Bob Straub State Park.
    The other excuse is not taxing TDM water system. As owners we are telling you it won’t tax the system.
    And it has been stated, the hook up to sewer is a stones throw.
    Come on now work with itch us. Your decision was made cart blanche.


    • OPRD Planning

      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on proposed park development at Sitka Sedge State Natural Area. You are correct, the reason OPRD stated at the public meeting for installing a vault toilet is that the agency does not typically install flush restrooms in Day Use areas. As you have noted there are some exceptions to the rule, in instances like Bob Straub where there is a close proximity to a city, where visitor use is much higher (64 vehicle spaces versus 20-25), and there is the ability to tie into a municipal sewer system.

      Additional reasons for making the decision to install a vault at Sitka Sedge, other that it is consistent with recent development at other parks statewide, are that even with access to water and septic a flush restroom becomes cost prohibitive — near the cost of all other park developments combined. The septic system across Sand Lake Road you mentioned utilizing for the restroom is residential and very likely undersized for public use, even with the smaller capacity we are anticipating for this park. If it were found to be viable for public use, despite its age and size, tying into it would require crossing the road, running pipes uphill, and installing a lift station, all which add to the cost. We understand your concerns and the restroom will be sited for maximum ventilation with appropriate filtration. It will be cleaned on a regular basis.

      In the long term, if the need arises, OPRD can always look into installing a flush restroom at the site, however based on current projections for use and existing site conditions the agency does not see a clear fit for a flush restroom Sitka Sedge.


  11. Kathleen Miller

    Then may I suggest the furthest south of the parking lot away from our property. Since it’s a vault toilet there should be no issue next to a wetlands. You’ve put gravel down adjacent to wetlands.


  12. Between the Widlife Report, Vegatation Report and Draft Plan there are 35 references to the “Waterways,Inc” report. You’ve never poster any report, in fact you have stated that it does not actually exist. All references to the Waterways report should be removed from all three documents


    • OPRD Planning


      Page 18-20 of the revised Draft Master Plan (June 2016), describes the history, intent and scope of this study which is still in process. All references to this data in the draft plan describe it as such. As data is still being collected through 2017, references to data that has been collected thus far (mostly included in the wildlife and botanical reports posted in the ‘Plan Materials’ section) is described as preliminary.

      As stated on page 20 of the revised Draft Master Plan: “A more complete report from this analysis is expected to be available in 2017-18 (pending data collection), that includes data gathered through a full calendar year (March 2016-2017). This report will include more complete data on the effects of tidal changes, local streams, and potential storm surge on groundwater levels to neighboring properties in the northern section of Tierra Del Mar, as well as results of hydrologic modeling collected in the process of developing concept alternatives, including water quality information. Further analysis of site hydrology in relation to neighboring properties will be conducted in coordination with project partners and the public prior to a decision by regarding improved fish passage and tidal exchange through the dike.”

      We hope that clarifies the status of the pending report.


  13. There are references to Figure 8.3 on pages 26 and 92. There is no Figure 8.3 in the Draft Plan. Page numbers are missing from all pages cosisting of a “Figure”


    • OPRD Planning

      Thank you for the correction, Marvin. The figure on page 78 labeled figure 8.4 should be labeled 8.3 ‘Natural Resource Management Recommendations’. All references to 8.4 will be corrected to refer to figure 8.3.


  14. Yes, Let’s Get the Plan Approved and Continue Work

    I think the Plan change is a fair reflection of local concerns and input. Delaying dike breach is now documented. Adding flexibility about trails and a clearer path to facility improvement are noted.

    Once Sitka Sedge is Facebooked it is going to see use. The parking issue is a bit like being between two Joni Mitchell songs ”Real Good for Free” and “They Paved Paradise and Put Up a Parking Lot”. Winners for the day will just have to be the first ones there.

    This is not my perfect plan, but for me is a balance of all the things I wanted and what is reasonable. I support its approval.


  15. I’m so glad this unique area is being protected and will be enjoyed by many visitors in the future. Thank you!


  16. I live full-time in Tierra Del Mar. I have no scientific, engineering or planning expertise that would lead to an informed critique of the Beltz Plan but, as a property owner, I have several concerns:

    — Perhaps I’ve missed something, but I find no OPRD assurances that Tierra Del Mar property owners will not be adversely affected by the proposed dike breach. Are you, in fact, offering such assurances? If not, why not?

    — Similarly, I find no professional analysis of potential unintended consequences stemming from a dike breach. Is there one? Isn’t it fair and reasonable to expect that due diligence vis-a-vis Tierra Del Mar would require such analysis?

    I would appreciate answers. Thank you


    • Hi Mary,

      Thank you for your questions. OPRD understands your concerns in regards to potential unintended consequences related to a breach of Beltz Dike. As explained in the plan and at recent public meetings in May, “As defined in Oregon Fish Passage Statute (ORS 509.580.910) inaction is not an option. As the tide gate continues to deteriorate, repair or replacement will trigger state and federal fish passage rules. OPRD sees a clear benefit in working towards a planned solution with the local community and conservation partners in the near future.”

      OPRD (and other federal and state agencies working to address estuary restoration) is not promoting actions that will adversely effect neighboring property owners. As outlined on page 52-54 of the revised Draft Master Plan, the agency is proposing initiating a comprehensive hydrologic analysis to be carried out by engineering professionals that will inform this restoration to understand potential impacts on neighboring properties:

      “OPRD is currently (June 2016) creating a scope of work to develop a comprehensive groundwater analysis, building off digital elevation model information collected in 2015. OPRD will continue to work with the local community and conservation partners on an adaptive natural resource management strategy with a long term goal of restoring fish passage to the estuary, Beltz Creek, and Reneke Creeks through deliberate actions. Restoration efforts will be based on a combination of modeling and scientific data and monitoring, and will avoid exacerbating flood potential in neighboring residential areas. The merits of such projects need to be explored in cooperation with interested conservation groups, agencies and the local neighborhood. Public education about the benefits and impacts associated with restoration actions should be a primary focus of public outreach associated with restoration efforts.”

      While some preliminary data was collected to inform this effort (that can be found in the natural resource reports posted the ‘Plan Materials’ section of this site) it is clear that additional data needs to be collected before making a decision on breaching the dike, especially regarding groundwater. The earlier version of the draft master plan attempted to summarize this data gathered to date in Chapter 6, outlining opportunities and constraints around improving fish passage and restoring native hydrology in the south Sand Lake Estuary. As the hydrology study is still incomplete we have revised this section of the plan, instead listed areas that need further study prior to the agency making a decision on dike and tide gate modifications, rather than attempt to provide a summary of this complex data or provide enough information to suggest that there were final options to consider.

      Through this analysis, the agency hopes to find a solution that meets restoration goals without exacerbating existing flooding in Tierra Del Mar or adversely affecting property owners. On page 76 of the plan you will find several proposed next steps to meeting this solution, including “understand consequences of removing the tide gate using knowledge gained through hydrologic study” and “continue to communicate with park neighbors to facilitate understanding of proposed impacts to local communities if concepts for providing fish passage”.

      I hope this answers your questions. As we develop the scope of work for the upcoming hydrological modeling we hope to be working with neighborhood representatives to make sure the study addresses all concerns. We anticipate this study could take up to a couple years, at which point the neighborhood will be engaged in continued conversations about potential restoration options – with comprehensive data as a reference.

      In the meantime, OPRD is looking forward to providing public access to this amazing place, utilizing the existing trial network and making small improvements for public safety, resource protection, and enjoyment. We understand restoration will be a long term process and while there are important considerations to be made in regards to the dike and restoration opportunities, the agency is not in a hurry to make these determinations without comprehensive data and additional input from the local community to inform them.

      Please let us know if you have additional questions.


  17. Thank you for your lengthy reply, and it’s good to know that OPRD “hopes” to find a solution, as described above.

    However, I was looking for a simple “Yes…” or “No, because…” answer to my questions.

    Is OPRD offering assurances that TDM will not be adversely affected by a dike breach, if any?


    • OPRD Planning

      Hi Mary,

      We wish questions like these lent themselves to simple, absolute answers, but they don’t. As a result of the planning process further study is being conducted to determine the modeled impacts of breaching the dike for restoration purposes. It’s not possible to offer assurances at this time, given that concepts for restoration have not been fully developed.

      OPRD wants to be as informed as possible before we start making decisions. The information we use to make those decisions will be made available once they are finalized, and we are committed to being transparent about the needs we’re balancing as we manage the park and follow the state and federal laws we’re required to.


  18. I’ve not been able to attend any of the public meetings but I’ve read each of the drafts thoroughly and commented via the survey and the online map. I appreciate the community involvement and the extensive work that has gone into this.

    A few feedback points, randomly:

    *I agree with the comment that “the existing tidal flow, while not original, has been in a relatively steady state condition for many decades, and the unique flora (including the Sitka Sedge) and fauna are a result of these conditions.” Worth keeping in mind as the desire for increased habitat for sensitive fish species is weighed and consequences of increased salt water flow are projected. I hope the hydrology survey and plan is thorough and addresses the concerns of Tierra del Mar residents.

    *I note that the “final” draft notes “restricting pets and leaving the park natural is important to visitors.” I walk the dike once or twice weekly and pets have not been a problem. Dog walkers generally have picked up after their pets (and when they don’t, I do). Aside from beach restrictions based on plover conservation, which is totally reasonable, are other restrictions planned? I hope not. This is a very special dog walking area, akin to Whalen Island. Making rules based on bad behavior of a few penalizes many.

    *The gravel is not only noisy (and causes the birds to scatter), but it is not aligned to the #1 desire of the public to have soft walking trails. I appreciate that universal access is the goal, and if that can be achieved with a soft layer of bark dust on top of the gravel (which is already weedy), all the better. Of course, as the trail narrows and turns into forest, so does universal access. Let’s hope the gravel doesn’t go much further than it does now.

    *I agree that a turn lane would improve road safety. Can at least a short lane parallel the road before it turns into the parking lot? Slowing down from the typical 50-60 mph to make the 90° turn is definitely a traffic issue, and even trickier the left turn.

    *Attention to toilet fumes and location is important. Somehow the one at the Jones Creek Day Area campground is not smelly in spite of heavy use.

    Thanks for the online opportunities to comment. Not everyone can make the meetings.


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