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Biggest Oregon Coast Stories of 2022: History, Landmarks, Explosives, Washington Mermaids

Published 12/29/22 at 4:55 AM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Biggest Oregon Coast Stories of 2022: History, Landmarks, Explosives, Washington Mermaids

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(Manzanita, Oregon) – In many ways, 2022 was not as wild a ride as many previous years, and that's simply a good thing. COVID began to be in the rearview mirror, and that meant no more dramatic closures on the Oregon coast and Washington coast, no beaches shut down, and even storms kind of took a season off at the beginning of the year. (Photo courtesy Capture.Share.Repeat)

That isn't to say nothing happened. It just wasn't as dire or depressing – the tourism news stories were more upbeat. With Oregon Coast Beach Connection being a publication that's fairly niche, it's geared towards whatever the visitor can use. The articles that got the most attention here were largely good news again, and with our coverage range expanding into the Washington coast and south Oregon coast in recent years, it's been an interesting period of discovery.

Here's what got the most attention:

People love to read about trains, and this year the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad spiked readership considerably most of the time – often well over 10,000 people reading in a few days. Among the fun stuff was how it had acquired a bunch of new steam engines, with the Garibaldi – Rockaway Beach attraction snagging 14 more antique rail machines. Only a handful of that will ever see live use, but it's going to mean more debuts.

Courtesy Manuela Durson - see Manuela Durson Fine Arts for more

A rather massive controversy broke out quietly with an article about Bandon's Wizards Hat Rock and Howling Dog Rock, which also opened up a few new mysteries. Which rocks were called what turned out to be in dispute, and every local official contacted had a different answer. Through some suggestions and more digging the original story was completely changed, and the names of local south coast landmarks were likely settled upon. Here's a wacky tip: there will have to be more articles on this in the future as different periods had different names for these landmarks.

Courtesy Manuela Durson - see Manuela Durson Fine Arts for more

More, deeper articles on regional sites sometimes just exploded with readers. Among them was a roundup of the south coast's Arizona Beach and its unique qualities, as well as others.

Wild history of some of areas become a little better known, including the jaw-dropping fact that someone was trying to build a nuclear power plant next to Cape Kiwanda in the '70s. Can you just imagine the nightmarish impact? Readers ate this one up.

The Great 1936 Fire at Yachats hit a chord, which wound up some history about the area many had no clue about. Another was the taught tale of the 1919 Wreck of J.A. Chanslor, which had 36 people dead near Cape Blanco.

It was also discovered that World War II mines washed up on the Oregon coast and Washington coast just after the war a bit more than most people knew.

Photo: one of the timbers from the galleon, courtesy Scott Williams

By far and away the biggest historical tale was a new development: parts of a 300-year-old Spanish galleon wreck were found near Manzanita. That story snagged tens of thousands of readers. Oregon Coast Beach Connection was one of the very few media to actually interview those who made the find, and this publication was even quoted in larger, national media like the Smithsonian Magazine.

Another incredibly uplifting development was the addition of new beach wheelchairs to more towns on the north Oregon coast. That new tidbit touched a lot of people's hearts.

Visitors love to read about new hotels, so when Lincoln City's Nordic Oceanfront Inn changed names and approaches with the Surfland Hotel, it raised a lot of heads towards their devices to check it out.

One story seemed to light up all over the Pacific Northwest, with the Mermaid Festival on the Washington coast in late March. Many in Washington and Oregon had not heard of this and the article went nuts.

Another fab event that went viral was the Pirates of Pacific Festival in Brookings back in August. It's likely the first time this and a lot of other south coast events got ink farther north, and this audience ate it up.

Stories on glass float drops in Gold Beach and Lincoln City went bonkos as well, and thousands were engaged in the idea of glass bottles with messages getting dropped in Bandon.

Photo Oregon Coast Beach Connection

Also an enormous development: Tillamook Rock Lighthouse went up for sale. It only takes a cool $6.5 million, which in turn somehow caused an extraordinarily large amount of people to complain about the cost. Kind of an odd gripe, actually.

Orcas reigned supreme on the Oregon coast this year, with so many more eyes out there looking for them than ever before. Some incredible video popped up early in the year, and subsequent stories often went through the roof.

Perhaps the most delightful find Oregon Coast Beach Connection made was an amazing mention of Astoria in Star Trek: Discovery. It's the 24th century and one character called the place “heaven.” That story caught fire in spurts, finally erupting with attention by Goonies fans and Star Trek fans around the world – to the tune of some 30,000 folks.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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