Currently the Cape Meares Community Association owns and manages two properties for conservation: Cape Meares Community Forest and Cape Meares Beachfront Wetland Habitat.
Cape Meares Community Forest
Cape Meares is an Oregon coastal forest and beach community, located where the Pacific Ocean meets the Tillamook Bay, on the historic lands of the indigenous Tillamook people. Embedded in a rich historical context, Cape Meares features outstanding recreation and wildlife habitat values, with physical connections to the Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge and Lighthouse, the Oregon Coast Trail, Cape Meares Lake, and its own distinctive ecosystem, hikes and wildlife. It’s a treasure onto itself, a hidden gem on the Pacific Coast.
In 2007, Stimson Lumber Company contacted the Cape Meares Community Association (CMCA) to determine if there was interest in receiving a donated parcel of forest land on the edge of the neighborhood and the site of active and ancient landslides. The community welcomed the opportunity to secure the forest in order to protect wildlife habitat, water resources, and legacy recreation access. On October 3, 2007, Tillamook County Board of Commissioners accepted the 106-acre forest land on behalf of the CMCA while the association became established as a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation. The Tillamook County Board of Commissioners specified that the parcel was to be “for open space for perpetual public use” pursuant to ORS 27.033(3). In 2014 the CMCA incorporated as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the title was transferred with a property tax exemption from Tillamook County.
The Cape Meares Community Forest is within the Cape Meares-Coleman Creek Watershed. The spring-fed Coleman Creek flows through the forest and is the sole source of water for the people of Cape Meares, the wetlands and sustains the largest freshwater lake in Tillamook County.
Community volunteers maintain a network of trails throughout both forest parcels connecting and intersecting with flowing creeks, verdant hillsides, and scenic vistas. As in many places on the Oregon coast, this area is landslide prone, with documented historic deep-seated landslides and surface land instability.
The forested hillsides wrap around the southern and eastern edges of the Cape Meares neighborhood. The trees in the area were last harvested in the early 1970s. Today, the recovered natural landscape features old growth forest characteristics with mature stands of alder, hemlock, and spruce trees and northwest native understory.
The CMCA Watershed Conservation Project seeks to expand the existing Cape Meares Community Forest through the conservation and protections for the entire forest within the watershed of Coleman Creek.
Cape Meares Community Forest within the Coleman Creek Watershed
Beachfront Wetland Habitat
In 2021 a small parcel (.56 acre) of Cape Meares beach front wetland habitat was donated to the Cape Meares Community Association by the Williams-Blair Families. The photo gallery below offers just a glimpse of this special little Beachfront Wetland that the CMCA has set aside for conservation.