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“Oregon Coast – A Legacy Like No Other”

The Oregon State Parks Foundation is proud to announce the publication of Oregon Coast – A Legacy Like No Other in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the signing of Oregon’s “Beach Bill” on July 6, 1967.

The 362 mile long Pacific coast beach of Oregon is effectively the longest of Oregon’s 255 State Parks, and a landmark known world-wide for its beauty and public access.

Oregon is the only state in the continental United States that can say that there are no fences on its beaches, and the beaches can be publicly accessed at least every three miles by more than eighty state parks and viewed from dozens of scenic viewpoints.

The ruggedly beautiful, endlessly fascinating Oregon Coast has been luring visitors for generations, and the coast is now one of the premier recreation destinations in the country.  The state parks along the coast received more than 28 million visits in 2016.

How did Oregon get to be the only state in the nation with public access to its entire coastline? 

Through Jack and Jan McGowan’s  wonderful essays about the lessons learned and sites seen on SOLVEs 2001 Oregon Legacy Walk,  and illustrated by photos taken or gathered by Rick Schafer, with the assistance of the Oregon Historical Society and the use of archives of state photographer laureate Ray Atkeson, this book tells the story of how Oregon’s beaches went from Governor Oswald West’s declaration in 1913 of the wet sand beaches as a “public highway” to  Tom McCall’s fight with Cannon Beach hotel owner William Hay, to becoming an iconic public landmark enjoyed by millions of visitors from around the world every year.

Jack and Jan McGowan have deep roots in Oregon and strong ties to the coast.  Jack is the former Executive Director and Jan the former Administrative Director of SOLVE (Stop Oregon Litter and Vandalism), a statewide organization dedicated to Oregon livability.  SOLVE organizes The Great Oregon Beach Cleanup twice a year.

Rick Schafer is a fifth generation Oregonian who has been a life-long photographer of Oregon.  For over 30 years, Schafer’s stunning landscape photography of the Pacific Northwest has illustrated billboards, advertising, calendars and many books.  Combining his archive with that of his step father, Ray Atkeson, and pulling from the historical files of the Oregon Historical Society, Rick brings out the color, activities and appeal of life along the coast.

This book memorializes the legacy left to all Oregonians by the visions of many notable Oregonians such as Oswald West, Sam Boardman and Tom McCall.  Funds raised through sales of this book will benefit the Oregon State Parks Foundation, which exists to enhance the experience of using Oregon’s state parks, now and for generations to come.

Retailing for $19.95, the book is available for sale at Powell’s, Made In Oregon, many Independent Booksellers along the coast, and online at