Mile 303 Dispatch

August 23, 2021
by angela whitlock

Oswald West SP, Smuggler Cove, Short Sand Beach
Monday 11:00 AM
65° F
Humans / Pets:
Activity Comments:
I was working that morning with the Tidepool Ambassador Program at the north end of the beach, talking with visitors, when a medium sized dog fell off of the cliff near the waterfall. The dog was badly injured, it was bleeding and I'm assuming was injured internally as well. The owner started climbing down the cliff after the dog, and people on the beach surrounded the base of the waterfall yelling for the man to turn around because it was extremely dangerous. Someone offered to carry the dog up to the trail and meet him there, but he ignored everyone and climbed all the way down. He did make it safely, and it was apparent that he used some sort of leash/rope that was permanently attached to the cliffside. Two weeks prior, on August 11th, I was out there in the same location, and watched two climbers scale down the cliff, using that same rope to help themselves down. At that time I mistook it for a tree root, and thought this was an isolated incident as I had never seen anyone climbing down that way before. I am attaching photos of those climbers. However, when the dog fell and I realized there was a permanent rope and not a tree root, it became clear to me that there must be an unofficial trail that people have created for the purpose of climbing down the falls, and the dog and his owners were hiking above when the trail ended abruptly. The owner got his injured dog and went further up the beach away from the crowd, then I noticed his hiking partner climbing down the cliff to join him. I called up to her to please go back and use the trail, she was risking a dangerous fall and she needed to turn around. Fortunately she did, and they left the area.
Notable Wildlife:
Dead Birds:
Fish & Invertebrates:
New Development:
Natural Changes:

I emailed Ben Cox, the park ranger, and gave him all of these details. He responded right away that he or one of his crew would be out as soon as possible to assess the trail and remove the rope. He said if the rope removal was too dangerous, he would ask search and rescue to come out to assist.

  • Wednesday August 11th, morningWaterfall north end of Short Sand
    Waterfall north end of Short Sand
  • Wednesday August 11th, morningWednesday August 11th, morning
    Waterfall north end of Short Sand
Other Mile 303 Reports (13)


August 14, 2022 - jessejones
This morning CoastWatch hosted an educational walk with Stewart Schultz - 18 people were a part of the walk, but others joined as the session went on (for about 3 hours). Low tide morning, super...
January 23, 2022 - shattuckf
It was a beautiful and sunny day out on Short Sand Beach and in Oswald SP. There was not much of a breeze on the beach and it was warm for a January day on the Oregon coast. Beach was fairly packed...


November 16, 2021 - DeborahP
We observed typical post rain/storm erosion and debris. The wrack line was surprisingly clean of trash. The concrete dock is becoming buried under sand.
  • Tree slid down the bank
July 22, 2021 - shattuckf
  • Short Sand Beach from South Beach Access Trail
  • Gull in the sand
  • Eroding bluff
  • Up close shot of the bluff erosion
  • A 5-6 feet long burial mound of sand and rocks, with a cairn tombstone at the southern end of the mound on Short Sand Beach.
  • Trees in the process of falling over due to bluff erosion.


August 19, 2019 - jessejones
Sunny, warm day at Shorties with a mild crowd of families and surfers. Most notable as always is marine debris including microplastics in the sand and in the wrackline.  Large log covered with...


March 4, 2012 - LisaL
A plastic wrapper with Japanese writing was in the drift line. The south cliff looks look there has been some erosion over winter. Fallen trees were present along the side of the cliff. Morphology of...


December 4, 2011 - LisaL
Large number of people; signficant marine debris.
December 1, 2011 - LisaL
Observed nothing but ordinary recreational activities.
October 23, 2011 - LisaL
It was a fairly typical day at Oswald. Overcast, people surfing, and people with their dogs. The afternoon was busy with tourists, but as it got later in the day, there were mostly surfers left at...
June 5, 2011 - LisaL
It was warm and calm. It was very cloudy with a little fog. The air was still. Several tiny fish, about an inch long were in the water in the swash zone. The beach looked clean, I did not see the...
April 8, 2011 - LisaL
Deceased young 40-45lbs harbor seal on beach near high tide line at south end.
March 19, 2011 - LisaL
Trail up to Devils Cauldron was in good condition, but muddy. Suspension bridge showed some sign of wear and graffiti was present at the bridge. Several plastic water bottles were on the rocks off...


October 9, 2009 - beachmike
I didn't see any signs of man-made or major natural changes to this section of the coast. Despite the fact that this is such a heavily used beach, I didn't find any garbage. The people seemed...
  • Lots of feathers!