Image by BLMOregon
View to the southwest across Floras Lake to the Floras Lake State Natural Area, Mar. 15, 2016, by Greg Shine, BLM.
Featuring a lakefront boat ramp and hiking trails along blowing sand dunes to the windswept ocean beach and adjacent Flores Lake State Natural Area and Boice Cope County Park, the BLM’s Floras Lake unit of the New River Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) offers opportunities for non-motorized, low-impact coastal recreation while protecting a variety of sensitive plants, animals, and habitat.
On the BLM-managed portions of the lake’s northern end, a parking lot and boat ramp adjacent to the Boice Cope County Park campground connect visitors to kiteboarding, windsurfing, canoeing, swimming and fishing opportunities on the lake.
As one of 4 units of the BLM’s New River ACEC, Floras Lake is the southernmost ACEC access point and is next to the campground at Boice Cope County Park.
A new bridge over the lake’s outflow creek leads to two signed hiking trails that offer a variety of coastal experiences – and direct contact with Floras Lake’s natural wonders. Both trails are out-and-back, not loops, and begin at the trailhead on the northwest corner of the parking area, cross the bridge over the lake outflow creek, and skirt the lake’s northside foredune and pine community. Strong winds prevail in this area, as evidenced by the lake’s kiteboarders and the shoreline’s hardy, low-growing dune plants who, with shorebirds and the occasional hiker, alone thrive in such extreme conditions.
For a quick hike to the beach, the short, easy out-and-back North Trail spur is the first to branch off to the right, bee lining to the surf through the windblown dunes to the northwest. For those who choose to walk along the beach, the wet sand below the tide line is the only way to avoid the restricted area protecting the snowy plover nesting grounds, but awareness of deadly sneaker waves is necessary. tragically, in the winter of 2017 this beach claimed the life of a father and infant.
The moderately difficult Floras Lake Trail continues to trace the lakeshore, turning south and paralleling the lake’s west side, closest to the ocean. It was here that the lake used to open to the sea, prior to a winter storm in the late 1800s that washed up sand and closed the lake’s outlet to the ocean. It was also here that the developers in 1909 envisioned their concrete-lined canal to sea.
Strong winds blow through this area on a regular basis, and the loose sandy trail can make for challenging walking. Spur trails to the west provide access to the beach – and, for those intrepid beach walkers aware and prepared for changing tidal conditions – a beachside view of the cliffs near Blacklock Point is an additional 30-minute walk away.
Hikers continuing south along the lakeshore soon encounter an old road once used by the U.S. Coast Guard. It enters the Floras Lake State Natural Area, leading hikers to the state park’s trail system – including trails to the top of Blacklock Point and beyond.
Fishermen casting for lake trout and racing kiteboarders fueled by afternoon winds show that, while the grand city and harbor never came to pass, the spirit of recreational use and enjoyment of Floras Lake is alive and well.
— by Greg Shine, BLM, @gregshine
To ensure a safe and memorable visit, please note that:
The ACEC is open for day use from sunrise to sunset.
Pets must be leashed at all times.
Off-road vehicles are not allowed.
Pack out your trash.
Avoid trespassing on private land by
observing the posted signs.
Portions of the sand dunes above the high tide line are set aside for nesting western snowy plovers from March 15 to September 15. Observe the rules posted on site for the restricted areas.
Campfires are prohibited.
Collecting mushrooms and other forest products is not permitted.
For more information, please contact:
Bureau of Land Management
Coos Bay District Office
1300 Airport Lane
North Bend, OR 97459