The Tillamook Board of County Commissioners voted on Wednesday, May 13, to open Steiner and Three Rivers boat launches in addition to the four county boat launches that were opened last week: Nehalem Bay, Memaloose, Netarts Bay and Pacific City at Sunset Drive. The boat launches will be open Monday through Friday, and close at 6 p.m. Friday.
A maximum of three persons per boat will be allowed at this time in order to observe social distancing; boaters are requested to observe the guidelines set out by the Oregon Marine Board.
Commission Chair David Yamamoto said the commissioners understand that people need to recreate and it is time to start loosening up restrictions.
“Do be aware, if things go wrong that the only solution the commissioners may have is to shut things back down again and we do not want to go there,” Yamamoto said.
Additionally, the Hungry Harbor Drive boat launch at Cape Kiwanda will be open exclusively to the Pacific City dory fleet Monday through Friday. The dory fleet will park their trucks and trailers in the Cape Kiwanda parking lot, as the beach remains closed to parking. The parking lot at Cape Kiwanda remains closed to the public; dory fleet vehicles only will be allowed.
Commissioner Mary Faith Bell said the resolution is a good way to move forward.
“It makes me happy that people are getting out on the water because I understand how important that is to Tillamook County citizens, fishermen in particular,” Bell said.
Bell said Lake Lytle County Boat Launch may be on the list for the next round of boat launches to open. Commissioners will consider the opening of additional boat launches in the coming weeks.
“We all need to get out and enjoy nature as much as we can,” Commissioner Bill Baertlein said. “The reason we don’t have it open on the weekends is we’re trying to limit the out-of-towners that are coming in.”
Yamamoto said if you are in a smaller fishing boat, be aware that you need to be able to maintain that six feet of distance. Sheriff’s deputies will be cruising the lots.