The Surfrider Foundation is currently engaged in a campaign to preserve the long-standing Lighthouse Beach access trail off of Lighthouse Way in Coos Bay, Oregon. The Surfrider Foundation Coos Bay Chapter recognizes the unique nature of beach access and ocean opportunities at this site and is committed to preserving access. We are currently investigating the historical public use at Lighthouse Beach and appropriate solutions. What can you do to help?
Are you a site user? Complete the use survey
Become a member of the Coos Bay Chapter of Surfrider Foundation
Donate directly to the campaign
When Surfrider members were met with barbed wire blocking their only access to one of the most beloved beaches in their community, they were shocked and dismayed. Surfrider members and recreational users have used the footpath at Lighthouse Beach, year round, to get to this special beach for decades, and broader members of the public have been using the trail for generations. More than just a unique place to surf, Lighthouse beach is steeped in rich cultural, recreational and even scientific uses unparallel to other locations. Surfrider members have used this specific pathway to get to Lighthouse Beach not only for surfing and recreation, but also as stewards of the beach and community. Our Coos Bay Chapter has hosted multiple beach cleanups here, including an extensive months-long cleanup when a large dock and millions of bits of foam from it washed up on Lighthouse Beach. When a house was threatened by oceanfront erosion here, the chapter jumped into a strategy to support the homeowner to move the home back, saving the house and the beach from disaster. Additionally, Coos Bay Surfrider has conducted our Blue Water Task Force water quality testing program at Lighthouse Beach for nearly 20 years and used this very path for these testing activities.
Surfrider has heard from hundreds of members of the public who are similarly very upset that their access has been cut off. We will be releasing a comprehensive public use survey shortly, so please stay tuned to the Coos Bay Chapter’s website for that. Anyone who’s ever used the Lighthouse Beach footpath is encouraged to fill that out to help with our investigation. Surfrider encourages the property owner to remove the obstructions and urges that access be restored.
UPDATE - JUNE 6, 2022
Today, the Surfrider Foundation, on behalf of its Coos Bay Chapter, has filed a lawsuit seeking to restore decades-long public access to Lighthouse Beach in Coos Bay, Oregon. Specifically, the lawsuit seeks to reopen and have a court judicially affirm the public’s right to use a specific footpath, located near the southwest end of Lighthouse Way, that leads to Lighthouse Beach.
Surfrider also reached out on multiple occasions to the owner of the property upon which the path sits, in an attempt to reach an amicable solution without resorting to litigation. However, the property owner was unwilling to discuss any meaningful restoration of public access and instead tore out the steps at the bottom of the path where it descends to the beach.
To find out more, read the blog post about the lawsuit.
UPDATE - November 2, 2022
Trial dates have been set by the Coos Circuit Court for April 25-28, starting at 9:30 am each day. The trial will be open to the public. Those in the courtroom are required to follow courtroom etiquette including being quiet and respectful (more info here).
UPDATE - April 14. 2023
We have a conceptual agreement with the property owner to restore access. We are working on the details. In light of that agreement, Surfrider does not need to go to Trial at this time. More information here.
UPDATE - November 15, 2023
The Surfrider Foundation is pleased that the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission voted today in favor of accepting a donation of property that will restore a public access path to Lighthouse Beach. This milestone comes as part of Surfrider and the O’Leary family’s continued efforts to restore public access to Lighthouse Beach in perpetuity. Parks’ vote is an exciting step towards eventually restoring access, but the Lighthouse Beach Path is still on private property for now, while the details are finalized - more info. here.