The future of Don Lindly Park, a largely natural area bordering the Alsea River in Lincoln County, is being decided. Members of the public have two opportunities to weigh in, on Feb. 28 and March 9.

The situation is unique. The land, off Hwy 34 at Milepost 7, was purchased in 2014 by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife using federal fish restoration dollars, with support from the Oregon Marine Board and other agencies. The land was then leased to Lincoln County Parks, with the understanding that a boat launch and other facilities would be built and maintained. A development plan was generated which would have drastically transformed the area. None of this involved much public input.

Lincoln County Parks initially obtained a conditional use permit for the plan, but it was blocked by the Department of State Lands, due to the presence of wetlands on the site. The county has now gone back to the drawing board, literally. Before deciding how to proceed, Lincoln County Parks and the Oregon Marine Board are hosting the two upcoming public feedback sessions.

The land that constitutes the park contains both wetlands and old-growth Sitka spruce. It is currently open spring through fall for bank river access (you can walk in any time), and is regularly flooded. While proponents of the highly impactful development plan argue that the river lacks sufficient access for boat launching, there is also a shortage of bank fishing locations, and this is the best site for that. It is highly popular with the Latino/Hispanic community.

The public meetings present an opportunity to call on the county to abandon plans for development and instead use the park to restore wetlands and increase the estuary’s resilience, fish habitat, and ecological health, while maintaining equity of access.

It is also possible to post a comment about your preferences for management of the park in an online form.

For more information, contact Phillip Johnson, Oregon Shores’ conservation director, at (503) 754-9303,