Category: General Article
GPS Coordinates: 42.8942629, -124.5090982
Part of the Oregon State Parks system, Floras Lake State Park is also one of its best kept secrets. This rarely visited area is situated to the west of the Oregon Coast Highway 101 with the New River Area of Critical Environmental Concern to the north and Cape Blanco State Park to the south. Its remote location has left it mostly untouched by human development, a sanctuary containing diverse ecosystems like coastal forests, meadows, beaches and riparian areas.
The lake for which the park is named is a natural feature measuring approximately 236 acres in diameter. Located at the northern tip of the park, it borders the Boice-Cope County Park and campground which provides access for boating, fishing, hiking, kayaking and sailboarding.
This large body of fresh water is very important to local wildlife. Steelhead trout, largemouth bass and Chinook salmon are all found within the lake and its four tributary streams. Bird species include the Cooper’s hawk, marbled murrelets, killdeer, bald eagle, American goldfinch, common ravens and hummingbirds. Mammals who frequent the lakeshore include coyotes, raccoon, black-tailed deer and rabbits.
The park’s beaches are also excellent for spotting wildlife. Tidepools contain an abundance of invertebrates such as sea stars, anemones and sea cucumbers. The nearby islands are nesting grounds for seabirds and haul-outs for pinnipeds like California sea lions and harbor seals. Gray whales also migrate past the area twice yearly, but can be better spotted from Cape Blanco or Harris Beach to the south.
Permanent signs will remind visitor’s to stay clear of the dry sand area of the park’s beaches from mid-March to mid-September. This is when one of its most endangered residents — the Western snowy plover — is nesting at the base of the foredunes and its eggs are susceptible to being crushed by hikers or dogs.
Trails beginning at the Cape Blanco Regional Airport lead into the more isolated parts of the lake and park, including Blacklock Point. One of the most scenic locations in the park, this grassy bluff overlooks both the Pacific Ocean and the mouth of the Sixes River. From the edge of the bluff, Cape Blanco is visible to the south as are a variety of islands.
The park is open year round.