At the helm: Secret Beach is not a secret

By Scott Graves, Pilot staff writer July 02, 2011 10:36 am


When is a secret no longer a secret?

When it’s Secret Beach, the unofficial name for Miner Creek beach.

Secret Beach is located on the Oregon Coast Trail halfway between Brookings and Gold Beach. It is one of Curry County’s most spectacular pocket beaches, the secluded stretch of sand is reached by a steep, quarter-mile trail from a small parking area along Highway 101. A waterfall, at the end of Miner Creek, adds to the idyllic scene, and low tide offers wonderful tidepools opportunities.

There are a handful of Curry County residents who still believe that it’s location is ... well, secret. 

I’m sorry, but it’s not, and it hasn’t been for years.

When I moved here 12 years ago, the first thing several people asked was, “Have you been to Secret Beach yet?”

And they were delighted to give me detailed directions!

Over the years the Pilot has published stories about Secret Beach. In August 2007, the Oregonian published a short story about Secret Beach. In 2009, the same newspaper published the story “Oregon’s 150 best: South Coast,” which included information – and a photo! – about Secret Beach.

See? Not so secret. 

Even so, as staff writer Jef Hatch prepared to publish a feature and photos about Secret Beach for the June 29 issue of the Pilot, we braced for the anticipated backlash. We we’re not disappointed.

A reader sent an email chastising us for revealing a local secret spot to tourists. He is not alone. I have encountered several people over the years who bristled at the thought of telling others, particularly tourists, about Secret Beach.

Some admitted to having a love/hate relationship with tourists. They are proud of where they live and like to share it with visitors, but just not all of it.

I understand and can respect that position, but it’s not one to which I subscribe. I’m not big on the whole “us versus them” mentality when it comes to tourists. Perhaps it is a matter of perspective – I moved from Southern California, where the idea of any place being a “secret” is absurd.  If a place like our Secret Beach existed down there, it would be packed daily with people – most likely nudists!

I’ve known about Secret Beach for more than a decade and I’ve been there three times, twice as a launching point to kayak the in and around the many offshore sea stacks, and once for a family picnic. Only once did I encounter someone on the beach or trail other than those in my party. Others have reported the same experience.

In his email, the reader asked if we wrote our Secret Beach story for tourists or locals. The answer is, both.

Tourists often look to this newspaper to find something  new or exciting during their visit. Locals like to reminded of some of the really cool places in our area that we get to enjoy all year long.

See you at Secret Beach!