After a couple of months assembling a miniature village in a sandy nook on Sporthaven Beach, and getting encouragement from dozens of people who have discovered it, Char Rigg might call it quits.
She’s built a small village that includes everything from knee-high teepees to delicate laundry lines, complete with solar-powered lights, little bridges — and driftwood logs to keep people from stepping on the deep, soft sand and making everything collapse.
Some days, she’s only had time to work on the village for an hour or two; others, she realizes when the sun goes down and the temperatures dip, that she’s been at it all day.
Rigg has met people from around the world — some of whom heard by word of mouth and traveled miles to see the village. People have left her heart-shaped rocks, which she has painted and encouraged others to take. She put a guest registry in a waterproof box for people to sign.
“I had so many people visit ,” Rigg said. “One group of about 10 Amish girls from Indiana heard about the village in Crescent City after leaving Brookings. So they came back just to visit it. They were so sweet.”
News also reached Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, and a man ventured out and told Rigg everything made of plastic, the blue glass rocks that form a “river,” and the solar lights had to go, as did the driftwood logs that prevent others from accessing an area of about 20 square feet of sand.
“He said he liked what I did and enjoyed it himself, but said I was keeping others from enjoying the cove, because of the barrier,” Rigg said of their discussion last week. “What? I told him it was to keep it safe, because walking in destroys it.”
Calls to Harris Beach State Park, the closest park to her village, were not answered.
He also told her if she wanted to keep it, Rigg might need a permit.
“I assured him that all the items of concern would be removed before winter storms and he had no reason to worry,” she said. “ He was glad to hear my plans were to remove hard plastic items but he still had to look into the permit thing.”
Rigg joked that maybe a permit fee might be related to how many dwellings are in the village.
Wednesday, he returned to tell her to remove the plastic items, the glass rocks and the signs asking people not to cross the driftwood barrier. She’s removed the glass rocks and the solar lights, but plans to keep everything else in place until her daughter and granddaughter can see it later this month.
“Then I don’t care,” she said. “I’ve received so many happy stories and comments about it, they outweigh this. But I’ve decided this is no longer fun, but stressful. I don’t need the harassment. I’m so annoyed. I told him he was the only one who has ever made a beef about it. Best I just give it up. It’s fun, but it’s turning into anxiety.”
Reach Jane Stebbins at firstname.lastname@example.org .