Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area - Oregon

  • February 01, 2011

Mining the Beach...and the Bank

This 40-mile stretch along the scenic Oregon coast is a recreation haven for swimming, fishing, horseback riding or sitting back and enjoying the ocean breezes. But under the 1872 Mining Law, the popular vacation spot could have been marred by mining operations.

Before the land that would make up the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area was "withdrawn" from the mining law, 4,000 acres were staked with mining claims. As the protection plans were being finalized, the claimholder filed to buy his claims outright. The state objected and the Department of Interior didn't want to sell, but the mining law prevailed. After buying the land at 1872 prices under the mining law, the new owner offered to sell the property back for $11 million.


Thanks to the outdated law, the Oregon case is one many where strategically located claims, opportunely times, have put a monkey wrench in widely supported plans for open space and public recreation.

Side Trips:

Next, visit Berners Bay.