The airstrip at Nehalem Bay State Park will undergo major safety improvements this fall.

A two-phased project begins in October to remove underbrush along both sides of the 2,350-foot airstrip and to clear out about 20 acres of non-native maritime pine trees at its north end. The trees, planted sometime in the mid-1970s, are now about 50-70 feet tall. They have become a significant safety hazard for pilots on takeoff and landing. The airstrip is one of 28 state-owned airstrips serving small communities for emergency access, recreation and general transportation.

The Oregon Department of Aviation, which oversees the operation and maintenance of state-owned airstrips such as the one at Nehalem Bay, is funding the project. The Department of Aviation leases the property from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

The project will be overseen by park staff, management and the Oregon Parks forester, and will take about two months. Logs harvested will be cut for firewood sales in the campground. Work will resume in spring 2018 with manual removal of invasive Scotch broom in the same area.

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