The 804 Trail is a trail people have been using for over 1,000 years and ends at seven miles of uninterrupted beach that goes all the way to Waldport. In 1913 Governor Oswald West designated the beaches as "Public Highways." Yes, once you could tell your children to go play on the highway, and you wouldn't be reported to the authorities for child abuse.
There was little opposition since not too many people then at the time lived permanently on the coast. The homesteaders lived along the rivers inland because that's where the good farming land was. Consequently, when they traveled, they usually traveled east-west by boat.
When they did go north-south, they walked, rode, or drove on the beach.
And when there wasn't beach? It depended on where they were. Old-timers say that they always carried saws, axes, and dynamite to get around rocky headlands and through dense forest.
At Yachats, though, they had a relatively flat plateau to drive on, and they put in County Road 804, a wagon road that pretty much followed the trail Native Americans had been using.
After Highway 101 was finished, people still walked on County Road 804, but not that many people drove on it.
In the 1970s, some who owned property fronting the 804 wanted to prevent others from walking on it. Bill Adams and the Committee to Save the Yachats 804 Trail fought for years for the public's right to access the trail claiming the 804 was never vacated, meaning that it was never technically declared not to be a public right-of-way.
Eventually, the case ended up in the Oregon Supreme Court. The Committee won and today the trail is part of the Oregon State Park system.
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