I have to admit, all last winter as we neared the west end of Bay Street, I avoided looking south. My husband gawked from the driver’s seat at the industrious construction activities, but the thought of what may be happening to the field and small beach just below Florence’s picturesque Siuslaw River Bridge saddened me. My imagination had a large obstructive structure erected, leaving the view available only to those who entered.
I should have had more confidence in the city planners! The Siuslaw Interpretive Center turned out to be a fantastic addition to downtown Florence, providing visual access to the flowing Siuslaw River and highlighting the beautifully architected McCullough bridge. Meandering walkways and plenty of seating offer first-class views of these decorative downtown attractions.
Update: The week following publication of this walk, my husband and I discovered the interpretive signs had been added. More than a half-dozen signs placed around the Interpretive Center and under the Siuslaw River Bridge cover relevant local topics: town history, Siuslaw River background, Siuslaw River Bridge construction, the ferry crossing used prior to the bridge, native plant details, bridge terminology. Education midst beautiful views – even more reason to visit.
The parking spots just under the Siuslaw River Bridge on the south side of Bay Street are a perfect start to visiting the Siuslaw Interpretive Center. Photo-worthy supporting arches set the stage for the grander panoramic view. From these parking spaces, you reach tables in front of Coffee Roasters in about 75 steps. This is the longest span between seating options, as once you reach the Interpretive Center benches and tables abound. Grab your favorite warm beverage or bring a meal, maybe even a book or newspaper, but don’t forget your camera. My husband and I see this bridge every day, and yet it still entices us to snap additional photographs.
Due to several empty metal structures implanted in the walkway and decking, it looks like there are plans for explanatory signs, but as of this writing, and nearly a year after the opening, these are still empty – so it seems the “interpretive” part of this venue has not yet been realized. No matter…it is a wonderful place to stroll and linger.
|Terrain: Sidewalk and decking, all level|
|Seating: Several benches and tables|
|Fee: No fee|
|Restrooms: No, but if you want some coffee or tea then those at Coffee Roasters are available.|
|Directions: West end of Bay Street in downtown Florence. We parked under the bridge, where there are more benches and a nice view of the bridge understructure.|