The Sand Lake Estuary is situated just north of Tierra Del Mar in Tillamook County on the Oregon Coast. The 900-acre Sand Lake is a gorgeous, mysterious, wild-salmon laden and relatively undeveloped natural area. Now, this beautiful and wild landscape will become part of the Oregon State Parks system, thanks to decades of conservation efforts and an acquisition deal between the landowner, the state, and Ecotrust.
This area is undoubtedly the most sublime estuary on the Oregon coast, in part because U.S. 101 was not routed through it – as was done to practically every other estuary. Sand Lake is one of Oregon’s coastal gems and home to a diverse array of fish, bird, plant and wild game species. It is one of the very few privately held oceanfront properties that has not yet been developed, though not for lack of trying.
In 2003, a group of out-of-state developers proposed to level the sensitive dunes and fill wetlands that comprise a large part of the estuary to build a Scottish Links style golf course and then a large-scale destination resort. Crag represented Oregon Shores and local citizens in successfully organizing a strong and vocal opposition to the project. In 2007, the property owner sought approval again to build a golf course based on Measure 37, Oregon’s land use loophole. Once again, Oregon Shores and local citizens worked together to oppose the project.
Last year, during a separate State Parks negotiation for a land trade at Bandon, Oregon, the Sand Lake property was floated as a possible component of that trade. Crag and Oregon Shores were active in that process, and advocated for the inclusion of the Sand Lake property into the State Parks system. Now, after years of effort and many battles fought and won, the Sand Lake Estuary will be preserved for its natural values and quiet public recreation.