Corvallis to the Sea Trail

A brief history of a trail linking the Corvallis area with the Oregon coast

Update! Gary Chapman is writing a comprehensive history of the C2C trail. Part one can be read here.

The Initial Effort: 1972-1983


Phil Delucchi, forest landscape architect for the Siuslaw National Forest, in a memorandum “to the files” attached a report, Oregon Coast-Willamette Valley Trail, compiled by Marty Wong, a recent graduate of the Oregon State University (OSU) School of Forestry.


Jack Remington, Coordinator of the Oregon Recreation Trails System, sent a memo to the Planning Coordinator of the Siuslaw National Forest requesting that the final plan for the Marys Peak Unit “include a ‘through’ trail which can fit the long range Corvallis to Coast concept.”


The Siuslaw National Forest received a proposal from the Corvallis-to-the-Sea Trail Committee (Baker, F., et al.) which included justifications for the trail and gave a general route description. The committee, comprised mainly of OSU students, asked that the proposal be considered in the public input for the Alsea Planning Unit land-use planning process.


Scott Carruthers, an intern at Oregon State University, prepared “A Development Plan for the Corvallis to the Sea Trail” for the Corvallis to the Sea Committee and for Jack Remington, Coordinator, Recreation Trails System, Oregon State Parks and Recreation Branch.


In May, The Benton Bulletin newspaper in Philomath carried the story that the U.S. Forest Service and Benton County Boy Scouts had dedicated a rebuilt North Ridge Trail on Marys Peak.This trail, dedicated to the memory of Eagle Scout, Raymond Easely, was to be part of the Corvallis to the Sea Trail route.The article also stated: “the Forest Service, with the help of the Corvallis-to-the-Sea Trail Committee and other groups such as the Scouts, hopes to extend the trail to Old Peak Road in the near future.” [note: this extension was later completed and is part of the currently proposed route.]

A stakeholder meeting was convened by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at Peavy Hall on the OSU Campus. The goal of the meeting was to correct misconceptions and air views in a public forum. A November 26, 1980 G-T story summarized the meeting under the headline: “Landowners cite reasons for opposing trail to sea.”

Summarizing the experiences from 1974-1980, the January 1982 issue of “American Forests” contained an article by Corvallis freelance writer, Jim Yuskavitch: “Trail on Trial." It said, in part: “The tortuous progress of this project raises serious doubts about whether recreation and timber harvest can ever be entirely compatible.” Several timber representatives were quoted.The article also predicted that a future trail would be kept on public lands as much as possible, using logging roads for short segments where necessary. Eventually there would be a trail, with modified route and aesthetic compromises, but it would be years, even decades, before the entire project was completed.


The Second Attempt: 1991-1997


Two reports (likely these were class projects) were prepared by OSU students for Siuslaw National Forest use.

Corvallis-to-the-Sea Trail Proposal. Young, C., R. Whipple, T. Heinlien, and C. Meredith.Prepared for: Dr. R. Johnson, OSU Forestry Instructor and Cindy Glick, Alsea Ranger District, Recreation Planner. This was a 31-page proposal for a mainly roaded route via Harlan, Big Elk campground, Tenmile shelter, and Ona Beach.

Corvallis to the Sea Trail (proposal). Howard, S., K. Manderbach, G. Meyer, and P. Meyers. Prepared for Cindy Glick, Recreation Planner, Alsea Ranger District, Siuslaw National Forest. The proposal included 36 pages with descriptions of four potential routes, and numerous appendices including one of an undated report “Proposed Segments for the Corvallis to the Sea Trail” (26 pp) containing summary position statements from USFS and BLM as well as Willamette Industries and Georgia-Pacific Corporation.

Corvallis Gazette-Times, July 25, 1991 – Headlines read: “Corvallis-to-the-Sea concept born again” -- “Call it ‘The Trail That Wouldn’t Die’.” This article included an interview with Cindy Glick, recreation planner for Siuslaw National Forest and provided information on the latest trail effort. The article stated: “The on-again, off-again Corvallis-to-the-Sea Trail is on again. And this time it might even become a reality by 1995 or 1996… Glick said she would prefer to restrict it to mountain bikers, horseback riders and hikers…The dozen or so landowners whose property is affected are again resisting the concept, but a switch in routes and a change in attitude has Glick hopeful that an agreement can be reached.”


In the Fall of 1993, the BLM and USFS entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to develop an interagency management plan for the Corvallis-To-The-Sea Trail. They agreed to share responsibility for planning and related capitalization of construction projects.The MOU became effective 11/16/93 and expired 9/30/97 and they agreed to document guidelines for: Staffing and Duties; Lead Agency Responsibility; Funding; and Planning Process and Schedule.


Another trail plan was prepared by OSU students for the Siuslaw National Forest.Corvallis to the Sea Trail Proposal. An OSU Senior Project dated May 1994 by Brock, A., S. Christensen, D. Drinkwater, and K. Glaubert was prepared for Carl Davis, Recreation Group Leader/Forest Archaeologist, Siuslaw National Forest.

On July 11 the Corvallis-to-the-Sea-Trail Project was presented to Siuslaw National Forest management. The Project had unanimous support of management. Commitment was made to complete the planning phase in FY’95. The development phase was estimated to last from 3 to 5 years.

At a July 26 Corvallis Watershed Management Advisory Commission Meeting the City of Corvallis opposed allowing the proposed trail route through watershed lands.

Subsequently Forest Service and BLM recreation resources dwindled to the point of barely maintaining existing trails and facilities. A "no-new-net-trail-miles policy" was adopted for the Siuslaw National Forest.


In March 2003, a meeting was held in Corvallis to determine the interest in renewing the effort to establish a non-motorized recreational route from Corvallis to the Oregon Coast.This meeting led to the organization of the grass-roots Corvallis-to-the-Sea-Trail Partnership.Since its organization, the Partnership has made steady progress towards the realization of the goal of establishing this trail (see Accomplishments).