Winema Beach, Oretown

Winema Beach, Oretown

by | Mar 5, 2019

Winema was originally a townsite platted in 1927 on the shores of Daley Lake near Oretown, Oregon. Oretown was once known for a cheese factory and a salmon cannery, but today only a few buildings remain. The Daleys were pioneers who built a cabin on the south end of the lake. In 2005, the Oregon Geographic Names Board changed the name of Daley Lake to Winema Lake.

Winema was a woman of the Modoc Tribe, which was forcibly removed from northern California after the gold rush and relocated onto reservation land in Southern Oregon. The Modocs resisted fiercely and a three-member peace commission was sent to the area in 1873 by officials in Washington, D.C. Winema learned of a plot to kill the three commissioners. She was unable to convince two of them that they were in danger and subsequently both were killed in an attack. A third commissioner, Albert Meacham, was wounded, but Winema managed to get him to safety. What became known as the Modoc War ensued and lasted for many months. Meacham named the lake in honor of the woman who saved his life.

Winema Beach is adjacent to the lake and a short walk leads from a small parking area on Highway 101 to the beach which is wide and sandy. Views extend north to Haystack Rock in Pacific City and south to Cascade Head. To the north, there is a large rock formation on the beach as well as a small cave and seasonal streams cascading down the cliffs. The Nestucca River is about a 1 mile (1.6 km) walk to the north where Harbor seals will often haul out on the beach in small groups. Read more here and here. Explore more of Winema Beach here:

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