More about the Oregon Coast Ecoregion
Oregon’s Coast is known for its dramatic scenery. It also is extremely diverse, with habitats ranging from open sandy dunes to lush forests and from tidepools to headwater streams.
Oregon's coast is defined ecologically by a geographic region, an "ecoregion" known as the Coast Range, which extends from the Pacific Ocean inland to the mountain range, also known as the Coast Range. In general, its topography is characterized by steep mountain slopes and sharp ridges. Elevation varies from the ocean shoreline to Mary’s Peak, which is about 4,100 feet; however, main ridge summits are 1400 – 2500 feet. The Coast's climate is influenced by cool, moist air from the ocean and is the wettest and mildest in the state. Its mild, moist climate creates conditions for highly productive temperate rainforests, which are important ecologically and for local economies. Most of the ecoregion is dominated by coniferous forests. Large forest fires are very infrequent, but are severe when they occur. For example, the Tillamook Burn, which is actually a series of wildfires that occurred from 1939 - 1951, burned approximately 350,000 acres. The Coast Range includes the highest density of streams found in the state, and deciduous riparian vegetation is distinct from surrounding coniferous forests. Along the coastal strip, habitats are influenced by the marine environment and include beaches, estuaries, and headlands.
Some towns in Oregon’s Coast Range ecoregion include: Tillamook, Yachats, Astoria, Bandon, Cannon Beach, Elkton, Florence, Gold Beach, Lincoln City, Newport, and Waldport. Coastal towns are hubs for fishing, shellfish and transporting products. The largest urban area on the coast is the Coos Bay/North Bend. Because of the bay and the Coos River, this area is a hub for fishing, shellfish, forest products and transportation. Forestry remains the primary industry in the interior portion of the ecoregion. Recreational opportunities and tourism are important to local communities. Fishing, both commercial and recreational, and fish processing are significant components of the economy. People are increasingly moving to the coast to retire, so retirement services are growing in importance to coastal communities.