Mile 306 Dispatch

August 8, 2019
by Frankie

Location:
Clatsop
Cove Beach south, Tillamook-Clatsop county line
Conditions:
Thursday
Cloudy
65° F
Tide Level:
1.0 ft
Humans / Pets:
Activities:
Concerns:
Apparent Violations:
illegal campfire. illegal parking.taking specimens from marine reserve.
Disturbances:
Vehicles:
Activity Comments:
Notable Wildlife:
Dead Birds:
Stranded:
Fish & Invertebrates:
Driftline:
New Development:
Modifications:
Natural Changes:
Comments:

Ours is a 1 and 1/2 mile long beach. With no amenities like restaurants, and mostly private property, it's a quiet place in the process of being discovered. A growing number of active short-term rentals has led to numerous "small" conflicts. Here's a sample. Today, heading out for a leisurely low tide walk, I immediately encountered a large SUV parked in the middle of the beach access trail. We don't have designated public parking because in times past, everyone visiting our beach was staying -- and parking -- at their host's house. No one was around, and I didn't have any writing materials, so I photographed the vehicle and license and continued down the path.

Within 10 ft of the access stairs, I found an unattended, smoking campfire. It was on the rocks, definitely not below the high tide line as required, and too close to the cliff with vegetation. What to do? Neighbors for two days in a row had called the volunteer fire dept, to deal with illegal fires; here was another. I decided to call it in later, after my walk. 

A quarter mile south on the beach, a couple was playing with a drone, flying it up along the cliff in front of the houses perched on the edge. Also perched was a resident bald eagle. Assuming they didn't know 1, we were in the Cape Falcon Marine Reserve, and 2, the drone was too close to the eagle, I pointed out the eagle. They hadn't seen it, immediately figured out the drone could be annoying it, and brought the drone back. They turned out to be visiting our next door neighbors, so I was really glad I hadn't been snippy with them.

A few feet away, a man and his son were collecting sea creatures off the rocks, and putting them in a 5-gallon bucket. Since collecting anything from the rocky shore in the marine reserve is illegal, here was yet another opportunity to educate unsuspecting visitors. After admiring their haul, I offered to help return the hermit, rock and Dungeness crabs back to where they found them. The man was perplexed since he had always collected in that area to replenish his salt water aquarium. I had to pull out my phone to show him the Cape Falcon Marine Reserve website with its map boundaries clearly delineated, the same map that's on signs at every access trail to our beach. After initial balking, he agreed to put everything back. I decided it was better to leave rather than sticking around to help. 

Heading back north, I spied a loose dog which belongs to neighbors. I told him to "go home" and he headed in the right direction. Wish everyone was as amenable.... Two immature bald eagles in a huge spruce caught my eye.They were about ready to strafe the Gull Rocks for the last of season nestlings.

I counted 8 walkers with 3 unleashed dogs; I didn't know any of the people, a phenomenon which happens more and more on our beach. Two surfers were bobbing in the waves; I hoped they were experienced, since a strong rip current flows near Gull Rocks. 

The best encounter of the day: Finding a long tangle of rope washing onto shore. I pulled it out of the surf, realized it was fresh so it must have gone overboard very recently. I started untangling it so I could coil it up. A 10-year old girl came over. She had seen it coming in, knew about the danger it posed to sea life, and wanted to help. Together we pulled and twisted and unknotted; soon we had a sort-of tidy roll of nice rope. She told me she wants to be a wildlife rescuer when she grows up. I assured her that was a great career choice. She also mentioned it was her birthday. We carried the several hundred ft rope up the rocks to their house where her Mom was keeping an eagle eye on us. After washing off the salt and sand, we all had to agree the rope was a splendid birthday present.

I made the mile back without any more people interactions. As I was climbing the rocks to the access steps, I found a family delightedly bringing the illegal campfire back to life. They had a picnic laid out. Now what to do? I signaled the Dad, let him know the problems with the fire location, and made him promise to put it completely out. They had sand buckets they could use to dip water out of the creek. I wished them a good lunch. 

Pleased with myself for not being confrontational, I arrived home to find a neatly-tied bag of doggie poop on the edge of our driveway from another one of those dogwalkers who's positive they'll return to pick it up. The "pleased with myself" attitude immediately dissipated.  

Summary:

Numerous violations observed, including campfire in unsafe location and harvesting tidepool organisms in the marine reserve.  There has been an uptick in problematic activity on the mile due to more visitors, partly caused by an increase in short-term rentals.

Other Mile 306 Reports (27)

2019

July 13, 2019 - Frankie
36 people and 11 dogs on mile 306 at low tide. 7 surfers, a higher number than usual. Adult bald eagle. Continuing bluff erosion.

2018

May 10, 2018 - Frankie
New slides on cliff. These are most likely caused by groundwater movement, not wave action.
  • slides
April 3, 2018 - Frankie
Wave erosion down to sandstone bedrock.
  • sandstone bedrock
January 23, 2018 - Frankie
At 1:30am, our NOAA radio announced a tsunami watch for the Oregon coast, predicting a possible tsunami at 5:10am in our area. We immediately started packing up necessities for an extended stay away...

2017

December 31, 2017 - Frankie
The afternoon low tide -- and mild weather -- on New Year's Eve brought out 40 people (and 3 dogs) on to Cove Beach, mile 306. They were walking, taking photos, crabbing, playing on the sand, and...
September 20, 2017 - Frankie
  • beacon close-up
July 24, 2017 - Frankie
Everything OK. No new erosion.
May 20, 2017 - Frankie
April 6, 2017 - Frankie
Continuing bluff erosion, some from waves undercutting, but mostly from subsurface water runoff.
January 2, 2017 - Frankie
No one on the beach due to heavy surf. No notable wildlife sightings. Biggest issue is cliff erosion from both wave action and sub-surface water runoff.

2016

September 17, 2016 - Frankie
Update on the whale which washed up Friday evening: It appears to be a sub-adult humpbacked whale. Its flippers measured +- 7ft so it was approximately 21 ft long. Its tail was missing. When it...
September 17, 2016 - Volunteer Coordinator
Update on the whale which washed up Friday evening: It appears to be a sub-adult humpbacked whale. Its flippers measured +- 7ft so it was approximately 21 ft long. Its tail was missing. When it...
July 21, 2016 - Frankie
Exciting news from Mile 306! An overturned boat encrusted with pelagic barnacles came ashore. A Falcon Cove Beach resident photographed its arrival. Since it showed up, scientists and state park...
April 11, 2016 - Frankie
Mile 306's main public access washed away w/in the last month. Beach sand retreat has been enormous this winter. (Sand is visible at low tide on Mile 307.) Underlying sandstone is exposed in several...
  • cliff collapse, the lower half of the access stairs washed away. the cliff hasn't stabilized.
  • As the cliff faces are being scoured, buried trees are showing up. Note stratification: tree in unconsolidated soil, silt, sand; gray clay; sandstone.
  • basalt & sandstone
January 3, 2016 - Frankie
A beautiful way to start 2016: having a two-mile long all to ourselves on a mild winter day. Sand and rocks scoured clean from recent storms. Driftline high up on rocks filled with logs and bull kelp...
  • dumped debris, Tillamook County, Cove Beach south, Tillamook-Clatsop county line
  • looking north on mile 306

2015

December 2, 2015 - Volunteer Coordinator
Orcas feeding off the beach 2 for sure, at least 1 and maybe 2 more, orcas were chasing sea lions just beyond the breakers. Sea lions were porpoising, surfing, and scattering like crazy. Saw the...
November 9, 2015 - Frankie
Visitors in the neighborhood reported a bird entangled in fishing line with a big hook embedded in its shoulder. They managed to remove most of the line but couldn't remove the hook. Brave souls for...
  • cormorant bird with fishing hook in shoulder, Oregon coast
November 2, 2015 - Frankie
Just in time for Halloween: red and pink weird-slightly-creepy-looking finger-sized worms. All over the drift line. Alive. Thanks to Fawn Custer for identifying them as PEANUT WORMS. Can't decide if...
  • peanut worms, Tillamook County, Cove Beach south, Tillamook-Clatsop county line
  • peanut worms on beach
September 17, 2015 - Frankie
Surf rough, tide going out. Sub-adult gulls feeding in the receding waves, "kneading" the wet sand with their feet to bring up mole crabs. Pelicans beginning to gather; 25 on the rocks on mile 307; 3...
August 31, 2015 - Frankie
After the storm, the beach was scoured clean. All the changes listed in the August 29 dispatch had disappeared.The sand on the beach was smooth. No washed up logs. Very little detritus.
July 4, 2015 - Frankie
On 4th of July, Falcon Beach was crowded with 40 people and 18 dogs -- at least by our standards. Most people were visitors. The access point nearest my house had 9 vehicles, leaving little room for...
April 19, 2015 - Frankie
13 razor clammers.
April 18, 2015 - Frankie
Clam tide, though surf was rough so few clams were gotten.
April 14, 2015 - Frankie
Observed an adult, breeding plumage Brown Pelican standing on the rocks early this AM. After several hrs, called Wildlife Center of the North Coast. Joshua & Bradley arrived from Astoria early PM...
April 12, 2015 - Frankie
Apparent tsumani debris
  • Living organisms - barnacles
April 11, 2015 - Frankie
Velella velella all over

2012

July 6, 2012 - torythompson
Picked up styrofoam, yellow foam, japanese food foil wrapper and an aerosol can with japanese writing.