Winchuk River, Crissey Field

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Winchuk River, Crissey Field

by | Apr 14, 2020

Crissey Field is a state park, administered by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, that starts on the southern shore of the Winchuk River and extends to the California state border, 17 miles (27 km) north of Crescent City and 4.8 miles (7.7 km) southeast of Brookings, Oregon. The Winchuck River is a short coastal stream that flows generally west from its origin near Elk Mountain through the Rogue River–Siskiyou National Forest to the Pacific Ocean at Crissey Field.

The site is named for W.L. (Bill) Crissey, who grew lily bulbs on the land before World War II. The community of Brookings was one of the few locations in the continental U.S. to be bombed by the Japanese during World War II. According to local lore, these attacks prompted the construction of an airfield on land leased from Crissey. The airfield was supposedly used as a refueling base for submarine-seeking airplanes towards the end of the war, and for many years after the war was the southernmost airfield in Oregon. In 1962, the airport lease was not renewed and consequently, in 1963, a new airport was constructed at Brookings, and Crissey Field was abandoned.

In 1993, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department acquired Crissey Field in a land exchange with a private timber company, but the park remained undeveloped until lottery funds for a new visitor center were allocated. The park opened in 2008, with a 4500 square feet (418 sq m) building which is a model of green technology, including geothermal heating and cooling and solar panels. The old runway is now a beach access footpath. Read more here and here. Explore more of the Winchuk River and Crissey Field here:

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