Easy access is an attribute of many Oregon beaches, where even elderly people and senior pets may enjoy a stroll. We often take it for granted.
How often after a winter storm is this easy path to the beach suddenly a cliff? In one night, the mighty ocean waves have changed the landscape. Sometimes it’s utterly amazing how dramatic the change is. And by that token it makes us very grateful for the people that monitor and correct these issues. One of the key people for this management program is Jay Sennewald.
Jay is a long-time lover of the oceans and beaches, being raised in Huntington Beach, Calif. He is now the ocean shores coordinator for the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department. He manages the Oregon coast from the Columbia River to the California border. That’s a lot of territory, but he says that 80 percent of his work is in Lincoln, Tillamook and Clatsop Counties.
He cites the 1967 Beach Bill that established a recreation easement along the entire 362-mile Oregon coast to allow for public access and enjoyment. His job is to ensure that the public does have easy access, and other functions such as driftwood removal, dune grading and permit approval for alterations. Building protective walls out of rip rap rock is a common need but still requires a review and permit process. There is a detailed review, and he writes technical papers discussing his findings.
Jay has some concerns though. He takes his job very seriously and enjoys the daily walk on these beaches with his wife and their pet dog. Recently, while exiting the beach, a women’s dog charged them, lunging and barking ferociously. The pet owner was jerked off her feet and was dragged but fortunately was able to stop her dog. When Jay told her that she should not be taking such an aggressive dog on the beach, he was ignored.
He wants to reiterate to pet owners that if you have such a reactive dog, then do not take them to the beaches. If they are mildly problematic, then ensure they are on a leash and under complete control. Go to places where there are not many people. Don’t put people and their well-behaved pets at risk.
He also works closely with the Beach Rangers and wants people to understand that they must always pick up after their pets. It’s the law. They have installed bag dispensers up and down the coast to help aid in this. But don’t leave the bags behind. It then becomes the rangers task to pick up after your pet. The rule of thumb is to not leave a footprint behind. Remember, not everyone has pets, and many families with small children play in the same sand.
Jay’s job is to keep the beaches beautiful for you and yours to do the same for others.
For more information, go to https://www.oregon.gov/oprd/RULES/pages/oceanshores.aspx#background
Jane Laulis is an avid pet lover. She hosts a pet talk radio show and is involved with pets from research to retail, nutrition to pet food manufacturing. She lives on the coast with her scientist husband, ocean faring dogs, indoor cats, exotic snakes and a charm of hummingbirds. She may be reached at [email protected]