Human Use of Resources—Beach Bill

Summary: For many Oregonians, one of the primary ways they connect with the ocean is through recreational tourism. Over one million vacationers visit Oregon’s beaches each year. This topic guide explores the history and unique legislation concerning public beach access in Oregon.

Concepts to teach: Beach bill, legislation, public access, history

Goals: Students discover the story of how Oregon’s beaches have been used for transportation, recreation, and the harvesting of natural resources. The passage of the 1967 Beach Bill continues to affect the way people interact with Oregon beaches today.

SS.HS.GE.03, SS.HS.HS.07, SS.HS.SA.01

Specific Objectives:

  1. Identify the early practical and legislative relationship between the Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon’s beaches.
  2. Describe the implications of the 1967 Beach Bill
  3. Recognize that public beach access in Oregon is unique compared to many other coastal U.S. states.

Activity Links and Resources:


  • Who uses the beach?  Who owns the beach?  Explore these questions with concept maps.
  • Write a persuasive essay answering “Who owns the beach?” from a personal perspective, or that of a beachfront property owner, recreational fisher, tourist, legislator, or other stakeholder.