PO Box 11045 - Portland, OR 97211 -

News Release

For Release: Thursday, March 11th, 2010
Media Contact: Al LePage, Director, National Coast Trail Association, 503-335-3876

400-mile Oregon Coast Trail trek
  and trail's value focus of presentation
Backpacker who's hiked America's entire west coast shares story of
Oregon journey, trail's economic, quality of life benefits to residents

LePage downs hashbrowns on Oregon Coast TrailAl LePage, director of the National Coast Trail Association, is traveling the entire Oregon coast this winter to present "Oregon Coast Trail: Journey Along the Edge of Infinity!"  He'll share the story of his 400-mile trek in powerpoint images, and talk about the economic value of the trail to coastal communities locally and beyond from a "big picture" perspective.  The south coast series continues in North Bend (Mar. 29), Bandon (Mar. 30), and Brookings (Mar. 31) at their respective public libraries, and ends in Gold Beach (April 1) at the Curry County Courthouse Annex, and all south coast programs begin at 6:30 PM.  All these presentations are free and open to the public and offer both a fun-filled but also serious look at this world-class hiking trail.

"It's a journey along the sandy edge of the earth," says LePage. "It's a journey with the infinity of the blue Pacific, through eternal landscapes of forest and seascapes of sculpted rock and headlands, and it's right in our very own backyard!  It's a vision connecting some 400-miles from the Columbia River to the Calfornia border.  When you consider the thousands, more likely the tens if not hundreds of thousands of people who walk along Oregon's beaches, who hike out to its headlands and through its forests in any given year, it has to be the most used hiking trail in the entire state.  If you really think about what all that means, beyond all the miles, the fun and recreation, in economic terms these little coastal trails really are a very big deal."

Besides focusing on the Oregon Coast Trail experience itself, each program will consider just why this trail is so important to coastal residents and its added value in terms of the local economy through both the tourism and quality of life benefits it already generates and could also potentially enhance.  LePage will include both his most recent 2008 trek as he tells his story with the rich images he took along the way and also make his case of its significance by considering a much broader perspective, especially in terms of tourism and international marketing.

Oregon Coast Trail sign "The big picture," emphasizes LePage, "starts with knowing that what is often seen as just the little nearby coastal trail is really a very important link in both the vision the 400-mile Oregon Coast Trail and America's 1800-mile West Coast Trail, too!  Another 'big' reason I'm doing these presentations is to highlight the fact that trails are more than just having fun, that they can and do play a signficant role in diversifying, and thus strengthening, if not enhancing local economies plus the quality of life for residents.  America as a whole, when compared to other countries, really doesn't market their trails very actively, especially to international tourists.  Perhaps we simply don't see them as the valuable assets that other countries have already realized, and that's another big picture theme I'll be talking about as well."
LePage knows the Oregon Coast Trail well, since he's not only hiked the whole thing once, but twice.  Back in 1988 Oregon State Parks declared the trail "hikable" was the first time he ever did the whole thing, and it took thirty days to do it.  In 2008, on the twentieth anniversary he did the original hike, he headed off to do it all again, to see how things had changed, to inspire and listen to coastal residents about special places they'd like to see preserved in their communities.  He's also retraced the footsteps, hoofprints and paddlestrokes of 300 miles plus of historic overland expeditions along it's length led by Captain William Clark, mountain-man Jedidiah Smith, and Chief Trader Alexander McLeod of the Hudson's Bay Company.  He's even field researched and written a "missing links" report assessing existing gaps and detailing various alternative solutions for each, which was offered to state parks in 2005 for their consideration towards realizing the vision of a continuous recreational trail along the coast.


The National Coast Trail Association, founded in 1994, is a non-profit trail organization whose vision is the National Coast Trail, a 10,000-mile plus interconnected land and water-based trail system around the entire United States. Our mission is "Keeping the Coast for Everyone" through advocacy, education, and action for trails, public access and coastal preservation. Our program includes trail development, education, and conservation. Our focus is the development of America's 1,800-mile West Coast Trail, comprised of the Washington, Oregon and California Coastal Trails.  Al LePage, serves as director, and has hiked, biked and kayaked over 2,500 miles of their national vision, both America's West Coast Trail and the 750-mile Great Northeast Trail from the Atlantic to the Great Lakes. 

"Al LePage eating hashbrowns halfway down the Oregon Coast Trail during 2008 400-mile trek" - PHOTO CREDIT "Joe Coyne"