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N. Oregon Coast Guided Hikes a Mind-Bending Bit of Science

Published 06/04/2016 at 6:51 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Photo: the Devil's Cauldrin area, Oswald West State Park

(Manzanita, Oregon) – Two guided hikes on the north Oregon coast are coming up that not only offer stunning scenery and a good workout, but they will expand your mind as well. The North Coast Land Conservancy (NCLC) is putting them on, allowing an incredible glimpse into what is happening all around you. One happens in Manzanita, and the other in the Warrenton area. They are part of a summer-long series of breathtaking science on-the-go. (Photo: the Devil's Cauldrin area, Oswald West State Park).

On Tuesday, June 14, the NCLC takes you on a walk around Oswald West State Park for Conservation on the Edge: Elk Flats. You'll take a hike along what is known as the Coastal Edge - a stretch that includes mountain summits that reach 3,000 feet and only a mile from the beaches. It's a small area that is incredibly diverse in its ecosystem - multiple ecosystems, actually.

It goes from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and you'll meet at the park.

This hike, lead by Chrissy Smith of the Cape Falcon Marine Reserve, lies within Oswald West State Park, which is the gateway to Cape Falcon Marine Reserve, the newest of Oregon’s near-shore areas. Co-leading this hike will be Katie Voelke, executive director of NCLC, and Dale Cramer Burr, executive director of Lower Nehalem Land Conservancy.

You'll wander to Devil’s Cauldron and Elk Flats, on the sea cliffs south of Cape Falcon in Oswald West State Park. Expect to spend about an hour on an easy 0.25-mile walk to Devil’s Cauldron. You will then walk three miles round-trip to Short Sand Beach via Elk Flats. This trail is steep and muddy in places: you'll want to come prepared to scamper over sizeable fallen trees. There are no toilets at the trailhead, but toilets are off the trail to Short Sand Beach. The groups asks that you leave dogs at home.

The Dune Geology Nature Walk happens on June 23. Local geologist Tom Horning takes you on a walk around Lewis and Clark National Historical Park’s Yeon Property near Sunset Beach. You meet there (in Warrenton) at 10 a.m., and the walk goes until noon.

It's an area the NCLC had a major role in helping with its conservation: a 100-acre property that includes 0.75 mile of oceanfront.

You will hike on well-established trails beneath a canopy of pines that were planted in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. After visiting the Yeon House and nearby lake, you'll leave the trail and explore to the edge of the forest to look at changing plant communities, the evolution of dune soils, and how all that is related to dune sand invasion over the last 100 years since jetty construction on the Columbia River.

Wrapping it up is a final bit of meandering through vast stretches of dune grass to the beach and a stroll back to the starting point.

Horning is well known as a geologic expert around the north Oregon coast, and is considered one of the area's finest scientific minds. He grew up in Seaside, then earned his master’s degree in geology at Oregon State University. In 1994, he returned to Seaside and opened Horning Geosciences, a geological consulting service. Tom joined the board of NCLC in 1996 and has been actively involved with the land trust ever since.

The NCLC advised you will be walking on fairly well-maintained trail surfaces beneath an open pine canopy with patches of brush. Walking through beach grass is a bit more difficult. There is a public restroom at the trailhead at the Sunset Beach trailhead parking lot. They ask you leave dogs at home.

Also advised: bring water, snacks, or even a lunch to at the end of the walk. Wear sturdy walking shoes and dress for the day’s weather. Binoculars are always a good thing to have as well.

Contact for these hikes is NCLC@NCLCtrust.org. Registration is required at http://nclctrust.org. Where to stay for these events - Where to eat - Map and Virtual Tour of Manzanita .- Map and Virtual Tour of Warrenton. More on these areas below:






 

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A famous little family eatery where the seafood practically gets shuffled from the sea straight into your mouth. Soups and salads include many seafood specialties, including cioppino, chowders, crab Louie and cheese breads. Fish 'n' chips come w/ various fish. Seafood sandwiches with shrimp, tuna or crab, as well as burgers. Dinners like pan fried oysters, fillets of salmon or halibut, saut�ed scallops.
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