September 29 2014

Charlie Plybon, Oregon Policy Manager, Represents

by Gus Gates, Washington Policy Manager

Surfrider's Oregon Policy Manager, Charlie Plybon was recently confirmed by the Oregon State Senate, and appointed by Governor John Kitzhaber to serve a 4 year term on the Oregon Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC) as a representative for non-fishing recreation. Plybon recently became Surfrider's Oregon's Policy Manager after spending the previous seven and a half years as the Oregon Field Manager. During that time, Charlie has been a very effective advocate on issues affecting the health of Oregon's ocean, waves and beaches at OPAC meetings and beyond. OPAC is a legislatively-mandated marine policy advisory body to the Governor of Oregon, comprised of stakeholder representatives and non-voting agency representatives. This is the body for publicly discussing marine policy issues in Oregon.

As Charlie steps up to the non-fishing recreation stakeholder seat on OPAC, he will be standing on the shoulders of Fred Sickler who recently passed the baton after spending more than eight years as a solid voice for coastal recreational enthusiasts. During those eight years, OPAC waded through a range of challenging and sometimes controversial topics such as marine reserves, wave energy & Territorial Sea Planning, and a proposal for a National Marine Sanctuary. Charlie brings a wealth of experience onto OPAC, having regularly attended OPAC meetings and been actively involved in the issues over many years and building credible relationships with other stakeholders, ocean users, and agency reps.

Charlie's appointment marks a significant advancement in Surfrider's effective representation of the coastal recreational community. 10 years ago, activists and staff were just trying to get a seat at the table to be a voice for concerns experienced by those who frequently spend time on, in, and around the Oregon ocean and shores. A few years ago, Surfrider led a ground-breaking study on Non-Consumptive Ocean Recreation on the Oregon Coast as part of the Territorial Sea Planning process, and this study has helped galvanize the role that Surfrider plays in advocating for the current and future protection and enjoyment of Oregon's ocean, waves and beaches. As an avid surfer, fisherman, coastal resident, and staunch defender of the public interest and enjoyment of Oregon's public beaches, Charlie is going to do a great job representing the recreational user community on OPAC.