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Mile 306 Report
August 8, 2019
Numerous violations observed, including campfire in unsafe location and harvesting tidepool organisms in the marine reserve.
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.
Temperature: 65 F. Cloud Cover: Cloudy. Tide Level: 1.0 feet.
Apparent violations: illegal campfire. illegal parking.taking specimens from marine reserve..
Actions & 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.
All Mile 306 Reports
We walked the mile on a clear, chilly afternoon. We picked up trash--one full bag. We found a little eel, the same color as brown rockweed! We saw sea foam blowing on the sand. We found a small skull bone. We found a scientific measuring device planted in the cobble with a float saying that it was the property of OSU.
Shiras Stamps White
Just wanted to report seeing 8 black oystercatchers on the beach just now.
These observations were made over the last 3 months walking the beach at different times of day but not keeping a record which I will try to start.