Nehalem Spit, Nehalem Bay

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Nehalem Spit, Nehalem Bay

by | Jul 31, 2018

Nehalem Spit is an alongshore sand dune that separates Nehalem Bay from the Pacific, about 15 miles (25 km) north-northwest of Tillamook and 3.8 miles (6 km) south of Manzanita, Oregon. Nehalem Bay is an estuary at the mouth of the Nehalem River that drains a watershed of about 855 square miles (221,444 ha) in the Oregon Coast Range. The name is derived from the Nehalem people, a subgroup of the Tillamook people, who inhabited this area for millennia.

A Spanish Manila galleon may have wrecked here in the late 1600s, carrying a large cargo of beeswax, lumps of which have been found on the coast for at least two centuries. The town of Nehalem began in the latter portion of the 19th century supported by logging, fishing, and shipping. The town and much of the area surrounding the bay are in the floodplain and a 1996 storm caused significant damage to local dairy farms.

Nehalem Bay State Park is located on a sandspit separating the bay from the ocean near the community of Manzanita. Tillamook County transferred the land to the State of Oregon for a park in the 1930s. During the 1940s and 1950s, European beachgrass, shore pine, and Scotch broom were planted to stabilize the dunes. Read more here and here. Explore more of Nehalem Spit and Nehalem Bay here:

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