March 11, 2002
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) recently acquired 137 acres on Kilchis Point and donated the property to the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum Foundation. Funding for the entire purchase of the $970,000 Kilchis Point parcel came from an anonymous donor, committed to preserving the history and natural resources of Tillamook Bay.
At the mouth of the Kilchis River along Tillamook Bay, the Kilchis Point property is rich with history and culture, according to TPL. For 1,000 years, the Tillamook Indians lived a peaceful life on Tillamook Bay, thriving on the abundance of salmon and shellfish and spectacular scenery. Named for Chief Kilchis, one of the most respected members of the Tillamook Tribe, Kilchis Point was the largest settlement of Tillamook Indians. Through the Tillamook Tribe at Elk Creek, Lewis and Clark learned of Kilchis Point. The area is also where Tillamook County’s first pioneer, Joe Champion, made his home in a hollowed out Sitka spruce stump adjacent to the Tillamook village. The first Americans to land on the West Coast were Captain Robert Gray and crew who entered Tillamook Bay on the Lady Washington coming ashore near Kilchis Point in 1788.
Kilchis Point is brimming with ecological resources. Its tidal streams provide abundant habitat for federally listed salmonids and its forests of old growth Sitka spruce are ideal for native bald eagles.
With guidance from the Kilchis Point Advisory Committee, the Tillamook Pioneer Museum will manage the property as an educational, cultural and natural resource property.
Before conveying the property to the museum, TPL placed permanent deed restrictions on the site to prevent residential development while still allowing some existing uses such as grazing.
Preserving Oregon’s coast
Through its Oregon Coast Program, TPL has helped protect 3,323 acres along Oregon’s coastline with a fair market value of more than $16 million. Last year, TPL completed a number of significant projects on the Oregon coast including helping protect Whalen Island as a coastal state park; working with the city of Depoe Bay to protect public open space and oceanfront access; and working with National Audubon Society to preserve 98 acres of wildlife habitat and recreation space near Yachats. In February, TPL protected 147 acres on Tillamook Bay and is working to conserve an additional 200 acres on the historic inlet.
Working with private landowners, communities and government agencies, TPL has helped protect more than 50,000 acres in Oregon as parks, playgrounds, community gardens, historic landmarks and wilderness lands.