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Haystack Rock Awareness Program Starts Up Again on N. Oregon Coast's Cannon Beach

Published 2/05/24 at 5:15 a.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Haystack Rock Awareness Program Starts Up Again on N. Oregon Coast's Cannon Beach

(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – Let the countdown begin. The north Oregon coast's Haystack Rock Awareness Program (HRAP) is getting ready to return to action for the 2024 season on February 16. (Photo Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

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They will be at the famed rock daily during many parts of the year, helping visitors spot exciting wildlife and engaging in other interesting nature projects.

“Come down and explore Haystack Rock with our team of Rocky Shore Interpreters on the beach, daily during low tide, until November 30th. Interpreters will be on the beach to educate visitors about the tidepool and bird life found at Haystack Rock,” HRAP said.

The full schedule is at the group's website.

This year marks the program’s 39th anniversary of education and stewardship at Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, they said. They have educated millions of visitors and tens of thousands of students over the years, and the program’s mission remains to protect, through education, the intertidal and bird ecology of the Marine Garden and Oregon Island National Wildlife Refuge at Haystack Rock.

You can also get involved. Their program has employment and volunteer opportunities available on its website.

For more information, visit or contact Mylasia Miklas, Haystack Rock Awareness Program Communications Coordinator, at 503-436-8061 or email

HRAP has had some resounding and increasing successes over the decades.

For instance, in 2018 they created numerous art projects, outreach events and citizen science projects. They interacted with over 850,000 visitors that year, they told Oregon Coast Beach Connection. The group also ran nearly 70 educational programs and rescued 35 birds, transporting them to the Wildlife Center of the North Coast.

“This season over 160 volunteers selflessly donated their time to the program, and without them the season’s accomplishments would not have been possible,” a spokesman for the group said back then.

Photo courtesy HRAP

Over the years, HRAP has continued its work and partnerships with a variety of citizen science projects from around the state, including Seabird Nest Monitoring, Brown Pelican Monitoring, Sea Star Monitoring, COASST Dead Bird Surveys, Black Oystercatcher Abundance Surveys, Black Oystercatcher Nest Monitoring, and Marine Debris Surveys.

Among the highlights of any HRAP season is the return of the tufted puffins, which start popping up on the rock in the spring, making their burrows and raising their young there. In September, they take off not long after the hatchlings do.

Things got difficult – as they did along the entire Oregon coast – when COVID hit in 2020. HRAP had to effectively end its presence on the beach for about a year due to quarantinesk, and certainly the sharing of telescopic gear was out of the question for awhile.

Then last year, in July of '23, the group helped out in a rather spectacular incident: when a cougar had wandered onto Haystack Rock. The beach was shut down, and authorities from police, state and federal wildlife, state parks, EMT's and numerous others had to keep guard on both the big cat and the public. Stunning Photos of Oregon Coast Cougar Incident - How's and Why's

HRAP was a primary funnel of information to the media as well. They told Oregon Coast Beach Connection this was a first, at least in modern times.

“This is the first confirmed sighting of a cougar at Haystack Rock,” they said during the incident this past summer. MORE PHOTOS BELOW

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Photos below courtesy HRAP

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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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