2127 SE Marine Science Drive
Contact: Dawn Harris
Newport, OR 97365
Date : July 23, 2014
Bandon, Ore. – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has closed the south staircase at Coquille Point due to public safety concerns, effective immediately. After inspection and consultation with engineers, the Service has concluded the stairs have suffered structural problems as a result of geologic shifting on the point. A path and second set of stairs on the north end of Coquille Point at the end of 8th street will remain open, allowing Coquille Point visitors to access the beach.
“The safety of refuge visitors and employees is our top priority. Consequently, a determination from engineers that the stairs have additional structural concerns requires us to close them to ensure the continued safety of everyone visiting Coquille Point” said Roy Lowe, Project Leader for the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex which manages Coquille Point.
The USFWS is obtaining the services of a structural engineering firm to inspect the staircase within the next week and provide the USFWS with an evaluation on whether a temporary fix is possible in order to retain safe use of the stairs through the end of October. The USFWS will also begin evaluating options for a long term fix through repairs or replacement.
“We are very sorry for the inconvenience this will create for visitors to Coquille Point,” said Roy Lowe. “I can assure visitors that we will seek expertise and funding to either repair or replace the stairs and once again give visitors an easy way to access the beach.”
These stairs have provided visitors with access to Bandon Beach and rocky intertidal areas at the base of Elephant Rock since their construction in 1998. Coquille Point is managed as part of Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. It is a spectacular place to observe seabirds and harbor seals. The point overlooks a series of coastal rocks of every shape and size that provide habitat for Common Murre, Tufted Puffin, Western Gull and Brandt's Cormorant as well as Harbor seal and rocky intertidal invertebrates. A paved trail winds over the headland and features new interpretive panels that share stories about the area's wildlife.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.
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