A Vision Spanning Many Tomorrows

Oregon has a long tradition of conserving important landscapes for public benefit. Our beaches are open to the public thanks to the vision of two remarkable Oregon governors. Our coastal headlands are enjoyed by all thanks to a century of preservation by Oregon State Parks.

It was Oregon’s first state parks superintendent, Samuel H. Boardman, who first set forth a bold vision of a vast conservation corridor above Oswald West State Park. The Rainforest Reserve is our best opportunity to see this vision through to fruition.


In 1929 engineer and nature-lover Samuel Boardman was named the first superintendent of the Oregon State Park system, which then consisted of little more than a handful of roadside rest areas. Boardman capitalized on the era’s low prices—it was the start of the Great Depression—to acquire land that would become Oswald West State Park (originally known as Short Sand Beach State Park) and Nehalem Bay State Park. He also relied on the generosity of visionary landowners such as the Glisan, Minott, and Flanders families of Portland, who donated much of what became Ecola State Park.

Boardman retired before he was able to achieve his ultimate goal: establishment of an “outstanding natural park” stretching from the ocean shore at Oswald West to the tops of the adjacent coastal-fronting mountains. North Coast Land Conservancy and its partners are now poised to advance Sam Boardman’s vision.

“In the acquisition of Short Sand Beach Ocean State Park, there has always dwelt an ulterior motive—to secure the adjoining mountain range extending northeasterly, starting with Neahkahnie Mountain which is already part of the park. This coastal range has many peaks, among the most notable being Angora, Onion, and Sugarloaf. The ownership of the land, as the timber is cut, has been reverting to the state through the State Forester… We have one of the greatest opportunities for creating one of the outstanding natural parks in the nation through this superior mountain range, plus the already acquired seven miles of ocean frontage. In few places in the nation do you find a mountain range precipitating itself into the ocean … In nine years, Short Sand Beach was nearly acquired. If necessary, take another nine to complete your mountain scenic [park]. — Samuel Boardman, Oregon State Park Supervisor 1928-1950


  • Photo of Samuel Boardman courtesy of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department
  • Photo by Rodney Glisan of the proposed Rainforest Reserve as seen from Ecola Point, circa 1900, courtesy of the Minott/Wessinger families

Oswald West State Park was originally called Short Sand Beach State Park. The State Parks Commission changed the name in 1956 to honor the first Oregon governor to help preserve Oregon’s coastline for public access.