Corvallis-to-the-Sea Trail Opens August 21

Following nearly 50 years of planning between multiple groups, and 18 years of hard work, the Corvallis-to-the-Sea Trail — aka the C2C — is nearly ready for its first day open to the public.

Since 2003, the non-profit C2C Trail Partnership has logged, on average, over 2,500 hours per year of work. Between research, maintenance, and trail-building, those working to accomplish this massive task have had their work cut out for them.

The trail consists of roughly 60 miles spanning from Corvallis, through Philomath, and all the way to the Oregon coast. While the first half of the path — the western half — is intended to be shared between hikers and bikers alike, it has been broken up into two distinct sections to allow both to travel safely.

While volunteers and people like C2C Communications Coordinator Louise Marquering have put in a tremendous amount of hard work into creating this trail, they weren’t alone. For nearly two decades, the Department of Land Management and the US Forest Service have assisted with the planning and reconnaissance required for this incredibly large project.

Unfortunately, the admirable goal of opening on Labor Day of 2020 didn’t end up coming to fruition. After nearly a year-long delay, Marquering is excited to officially reveal this long-term project to the public.

“We live in a rainforest. We’re constantly cutting back nettles, blackberries, salmonberries,” said Marquering. “It’s so thrilling to be able to finally reveal our hard work.”

For those who want to get a first glimpse at this challenging and beautiful trail, the grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremonies will occur on Saturday, August 21 at both ends of the path.

The first ceremony will occur from 10 to 11 a.m. at Ona Beach State Park, Seal Rock. The second will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Benton County Fairgrounds Floral Courtyard in Corvallis.

While only digital maps are currently available on their site, printed maps will be available come opening day. For more information on the trail and its history, maps, and to find contact information and restrictions, you can visit the official C2C website.

And Now the Rules

Important things to keep in mind if you choose to hike the C2C

1. Watch for traffic. The trail crosses active roadways in places, so pay attention.

2. Leave no trace. This means that whatever you take in with you must be taken back out with you — that includes toilet paper, so bring a B.U.T.T. bag (Bag Used Toilet Tissue bag) or a plastic bag.

3. Speaking of toilet paper, human waste is not allowed within 200 feet of streams and campsites.

4. Respect wildlife, and be wary. The trail contains black bear country and cougar spaces. If you see either animal, back away slowly. Do. Not. Run.

5. Respect the other kinds of wildlife, too. Oregon has poison oak and stinging nettles, so watch where you step. You can also expect ticks, mosquitoes, and biting flies.

6. No camping except at Forest Service land. And be sure to use wildlife-secure containers for food.

7. Sign a registry. They’re along the trail, and you don’t have to sign them all. The registries help trail maintenance keep track of usage.

8. Water is scarce, so plan ahead to either find and purify some or to bring your own with you.

9. Don’t hike alone. Cell phone coverage is iffy, although GPS should work on airplane mode, and you don’t want to risk getting hurt and being unable to get help.

10. Make sure to know if it’s hunting season.

If you have questions, email CorvallisToTheSea@gmail.com. When you’re planning to hike the C2C, please check for safety warnings and closures first.

A permit is required to hike the Old Peak Road section of the trail, but it’s free and good for a year. You can get your permit at Starker Forests, Inc. on 7240 SW Philomath Blvd. The office may be reached by phone at 541-929-2477.

By Ethan Hauck