Nehalem Bay State Park, including the air strip, was originally a sand spit extending five miles south of Manzanita.
In 1958, state park officials granted a 25-year lease for the air strip. The lease was renewed in 1983 and again in 2008.
Today the south end of the air strip lies just 150 feet from the edge of the water at high tide.
For many years, plans for Highway 101 specified a route south of Manzanita into the park and crossing Nehalem Bay to Fisher Point.
By the early 1970s, outlines of roads and other facilities in the park began to emerge.
Park staff often adds rock and rebuilds the path to prevent further erosion.
Starting in the late 1940s, local boosters asked the Oregon Department of Aviation to build an air strip serving the Nehalem Bay area. Locals thought the ideal location was low land -- shown by the green line -- between Nehalem and Wheeler.
Construction of the runway left several hundred feet of land between the south end of the tarmac and the shore of the bay. This image from 1978 shows trees growing on that land and throughout the rest of the park.
When owners of the farm land refused to sell for an air strip, interest shifted south to Nedonna Beach -- shown here by the green line near the bottom if the image.
In the 1980s, park staff removed the trees from the south end of the air strip to improve the angle of approach for air craft. Removing the trees allowed the bay to erode the land to bring water close to the tarmac.
By the early 1950s, all parties had settled on the current location within the new state park. At the time, everyone assumed the highway would pass close to the air strip as shown here.
Every spring Scotch broom highlights the sand between the walking path and the end of the runway.