Coastal parks seek history in pictures.
FLORENCE - At coastal state parks, rangers are watching the area's history erode like a sandy beach in a winter storm.
As time passes, so do those who hold the memories of what it was like to visit before the first campsites were built and those who may own a photo of Oregon's shoreline 40 years ago, say park rangers, who give thousands of historical tours each year.
"Knowing the history gives us an opportunity to give (visitors) more of the story," said Debra Edwards, a park ranger at Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park. "The more they know, they may appreciate (a park) more and want to help preserve it."
To keep the parks' past from going extinct, Edwards is working to collect historical photographs of state parks in Lane County to help with historical signs, tours and restoration.
Surprisingly little is known about the state's parks, most of which are the product of 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps projects. Until 1989, the parks were a division of the state Department of Transportation, so many historical photos were taken from a utilitarian point of view, Oregon State Parks spokesman Chris Havel said.
"We know all of the dry statistics," he said. "But what did people experience when they were in the park?"
Rangers would like to have snapshots of families camping, playing, hiking and swimming, Edwards said.
Edwards, who works primarily at Washburne and at the Heceta Head Lighthouse, said most of the pictures she has are tourist snapshots of the lighthouse from different angles - mixed with scattered ODOT shots of the parking lot.
Some decades are more mysterious than others. The 1970s have proven to be a photographically sparse decade, she said. Early 1900s shots are also in short supply.
Donated pictures may help unlock mysteries, Edwards said. Few pictures show the barracks built near the Heceta lighthouse during World War II. And only pipes mark where post-war corrugated steel Quonset huts stood at Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint and Washburne.
"I don't know much about the huts, except that they used to be there," she said. "There's a lot of unknowns out there."
Along with pictures, Edwards wants to collect contact information to begin working on building an oral history of the coastal parks.
"Our goal is to preserve and protect these areas for present and future generations," she said. "The more history and knowledge we have about a site doesn't mean we're going to change a site, but you can keep people connected."
Photos of any park are welcome, but Edwards said she is particularly interested in the Quonset huts, Heceta Head before, during and after construction of the lighthouse, and of the kitchen shelters at Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park, when they still had functioning stoves.
Any photos capturing the memory of visiting a park also are requested.
To share a picture, contact Lori Coffindaffer at (541) 997-3851 or e-mail lori.coffindaffer @state.or.us. Photos will be returned upon request.
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|Title Annotation:||General News; Rangers look to family snapshots to help unlock mysteries along the shoreline|
|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||Nov 19, 2006|
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