Up near Astoria, in the most northwestern corner of the State, exists one of the largest public campgrounds in the country. Fort Stevens State Park is named for the fort that once guarded the mouth of the Columbia River, which was in service up until World War II. The fort was one of the few places where World War II came to the shores of the United States.
In June of 1942, the Imperial Japanese submarine I-25 fired on Fort Stevens. Though the shots completely missed the battery at which they were aimed, at least a couple rounds came close. Today, there are only slight depressions remaining from the shelling. The fort did not return fire, as they were in blackout, and did not want to reveal their position. The Japanese submarine was eventually chased off by bombs from an A-29 Hudson bomber called to the location.
What remains of the battery is open to the public. You can easily see where the large guns were mounted, and the elevator shafts for ammunition. From the visitor’s center there are trails for wildlife viewing along the jetty and Trestle Bay.
In addition to the ruins of Battery Russell, the wreck of an English sailing ship that sank in a 1906 storm sits on the beach below. The Peter Iredale is accessible at low tide and is a popular spot for taking photos.
At the Northernmost end of the park, there is a nesting area reserved for the Western Snowy Plover, which is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. During the spring and summer, these shorebirds lay their eggs in shallow depressions in the sand.