Scenic USA - Oregon

Umpqua River Lighthouse

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Umpqua River Lighthouse - Umpqua Lighthouse State Park, Oregon

Photos by Denny Barnes and Ben Prepelka

     Oregon's Smith and Umpqua rivers Umpqua Lighthouse - Umpqua Lighthouse State Park, Reedsport, OR meet near the coast at Reedsport and create a beautiful Winchester Bay. On the north spit, which juts out into Winchester Bay, is where Oregon's first lighthouse was built in 1857. Unfamiliar with the powerful forces of the Umpqua River, the lighthouse foundation was soon undermined, toppling the tower in just six years. It would take another 30 years before another lighthouse would mark the entrance to Winchester Bay.
     Built to the same plans as its northern neighbor at Heceta Head, the new light station was built on the headlands to the south of the bay. Automated in 1960, the distinct red and white beacon was left operating 24 hours a day. The two ton, first order Fresnel lens, made up of 616 handcrafted glass Lake Marie - Umpqua Lighthouse State Park, Reedsport, OR prisms, put on quite a show as it is reflected off the surrounding tree line. When the rotating mechanism failed after 93 years, the U.S. Coast Guard planned to replace it with a modern optic. The community was very upset to say the least, so the old mechanism was repaired and returned to service.
     Located within the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, Oregon's Umpqua Lighthouse State Park features a variety of camping facilities and day use facilities around the picturesque Lake Marie. This small lake, trapped within the dunes, is open for swimming, fishing and boating. Lighthouse tours run from May through September.

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