Cannon Beach is a popular destination in Oregon. I came for a brief visit 20 years ago, and was quickly hooked by the solace of the sea – the waves, whales, nesting birds, and tidal pools.
Oregon is currently updating its Rocky Habitat Management Strategy, and the public is able to propose special protections for specific rocky shore sites until December 2020.
Tourism traffic on the north areas of Chapman Point and Ecola Beach has increased significantly over the years, which are not protected under this plan. Challenges facing inhabitants of rocky shores are growing. Puffin populations are in precipitous decline, and black oystercatchers are a species of concern.
Human caused disturbances to rocky shores inhabitants are often unintentional – tourists disrupting bird nests by climbing on rocks, drones flushing nesting wildlife, fireworks disrupting puffin and oystercatcher nests, or dogs chasing defenseless chicks that are unable to fly. Educating travelers regarding care of these habitats would help considerably, as well as putting protections in place.
I hear often about the “old days” when we could do what we wanted on the beach. I grew up playing on the beach, climbing on rocks and investigating tidal pools. I wish it was possible to continue to enjoy the beach as we did long ago. The volume of tourism, however, means that the beach environment is unsustainable as when there were fewer people.
To provide input into the Rocky Habitat Management Strategy, please join the North Coast Rocky Habitat Coalition.