Almost any avid golfer knows that Bandon Dunes is regarded as the “Mecca of American Golf”. With its miles of beautiful rolling green hills overlooking the ocean, it’s easy to understand why. Many celebrities, pro athletes, and golf enthusiasts like to escape to the resort for a few days, and some even refer to it as “man camp”. But what many don’t realize is that there so much more to Bandon Dunes than golf.

Photo of the Bandon Preserve course (image obtained from Bandon Dunes Golf Resort website)

Mike Keiser, the owner of the resort, saw the needs of the community and the positive impact clean tourism has on the area. He founded the Wild Rivers Coast Alliance (WRCA) to fund triple-bottom-line projects in the community. The net proceeds made from the Bandon Preserves course goes towards the WRCA, which then goes into grants for other organizations serving the Sothern Oregon coast. Even the course itself emphasizes the beauty of the area, featuring the endangered and protected plant species silvery phacelia. Some organizations that had projects funded by the WRCA this past year include the Oregon Coast Visitors Association, Beaver Slough Drainage District and community members in fighting against the invasive species gorse. The WRCA and the Bandon Dunes Resort are prime examples of tourism as it should be; providing visitors with an experience of a lifetime while highlighting features of the area and putting profits back into the community and environment.

WRCA logo (obtained from website)

Astoria, a town situated at the mouth of the Columbia river, marks the start of the Oregon Coast. Although it is now a quaint fishing town, it has history of being one of the most significant settlements in the West.

John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson had the original intention of turning it into a trading port and creating a transcontinental settlement. One group of men traveled by sea while the other went by land. Their harrowing journey across the country followed Lewis and Clark’s route to the Pacific Northwest. Astor established the first settlement there and laid the foundation for the Oregon Trail. According to Peter Stark’s novel Astoria, nearly half of the parties died along the way before they established the trading port on the mouth of the Columbia. It became a huge fur trading port Fort Astoria was short-lived but helped blaze the Oregon Trail and show the potential that lay in the Pacific Northwest.

Since then, Astoria has been through all kinds of economic booms and busts in both the fur trade and fishing industry. Today, the town still contains remnants of its past, which can be found in the Heritage Museum or at the Fort Astoria National Historic Landmark. Astoria is also well known as a pop culture hub for film fans of movies like The Goonies, Kindergarten Cop and Free Willy. A charming town with rich history, Astoria is well worth a visit.


Image obtained from the City of Astoria website.

This year marks the 50thanniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, which was passed in 1968. Almost 2,000 miles of river in Oregon is protected by the act, broken into 58 Nationally designated rivers. This makes up 2% of Oregon’s river miles protected, the most of any state. The purpose of the act was to recognize significance of the rivers and to create law that encourages proper management. It was implemented with the “goal of protecting and enhancing the values that caused it to be designated”.


Rivers can be classified as wild, scenic or recreational. Rivers that are “wild” are primitive and inaccessible except by trail. “Scenic” rivers are free of development, but may be near roads and have shorelines, while “recreational” are readily accessible and may have some development. A river with any of these classifications are protected through regulations from federal, state, local, and/or tribal governments.


Cliff jumping into the Wild & Scenic Chetco river near Brookings. Photo by Erik Urdahl


These rivers contain some of the most beautiful landscapes and wildlife in the state and are well worth visiting. People can hike, bike, swim and boat in or around these rivers. There are also companies that provide guided tours of these rivers, whether it be by kayak, raft or jet boat. These guides have intimate knowledge of the rivers and are excellent for learning more about the wildlife and how the act serves both the river environment and the people who use it.


For more information about Oregon’s Wild and Scenic Rivers, visit