Recreational users to the popular Short Sands beach located within Oswald West State Park should take appreciation in the new year ushering into effect the Cape Falcon Marine Reserve and Protected Areas as of January 1, 2016! Marking the start of Oregon’s 5th in a statewide system of reserves and protected areas is certainly something to celebrate and important for recreational users visiting the site to be aware of and support ongoing compliance and stewardship. As if you didn’t need another reason to keep it clean while visiting Short Sands, the designation and implementation of these special ecological protections to conserve ocean wildlife should further reinforce your low-impact visit to Shorties. With kickoff celebrations scheduled by local community groups, there’s many upcoming opportunities to learn more about this newly implemented marine reserve at one of Oregon’s most popular tourism and recreational destinations.

Cape Falcon Marine Reserve – Oregon’s Ocean Legacy from DELPHI CINEMA on Vimeo.

For most recreational users visiting Short Sands, the newly designated marine reserve will have little effect on “non-consumptive” shore side and ocean activities like beach-going, surfing and paddle sports – although we do hope it will be added incentive to pick up your dog poo and “leave no trace” of your visit. And heck, it’s not like we didn’t already know this was a special place, it’s what has attracted over 700,000 visitors each year to this tremendous gem of shoreline and ocean habitat. The marine reserve and associated protected areas, managed by Oregon’s Department of Fish and Wildlife, now adds further protections to ocean and marine habitats adjacent this spectacular state park, appropriately named after the Oregon public beach birthright signatory, Governor Oswald West.

A view from Cape Falcon south over Short Sands. Photo: Nadia Gardner

A view from Cape Falcon south over Short Sands. Photo: Nadia Gardner

The marine reserve prohibits the removal of all marine life and ocean development, from just north of Manzanita to the north end of Falcon Cove, an area encompassing all of the adjacent ocean to Short Sands beach and extending westward offshore (12.4 square miles). So leave your fishing rods behind and take only photos and memories, something this place is renowned for with recreational users. Adjacent the marine reserve are two marine protected areas (7.6 square miles in total), one shoreside and to the north and another just offshore of the western-most boundary of the marine reserve. These areas allow for some limited fishing activities but still prohibit ocean development such as offshore oil drilling, pipelines or other energy development interests. See maps below and visit the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s official rules for this site.

capefalcon_map

 

Recognizing the coming protections and need to address recreational impacts, Surfrider Foundation Portland Chapter formed the Oswald West Action Team back in 2013 to begin advancing shore side strategies to lessen the consequences of heavy tourism and recreational use within the area…and, we’ve made significant achievements, particularly in water quality protections and management of park activities influencing the site from recreational users. Now with the marine reserve in effect, we hope you’ll join us in continuing stewardship efforts, check out the bottom of this post for some tips on how to visit this area sensitively. If you’re interested in learning more about the site, becoming more involved in citizen science, outreach or stewardship activities, be sure and check out one of the upcoming celebration events hosted by the Friends of Cape Falcon Marine Reserve:

Saturday, January 16, 4:30-8 p.m.
Cape Falcon Marine Reserve Kick-Off Party
Join the Friends of Cape Falcon Marine Reserve in celebrating ocean conservation with live music (Tsunami Drummers & Two Crows Joy), food & drinks, information about the marine reserve, and family-friendly activities.
Pine Grove Community House – 225 Laneda Ave, Manzanita.

Saturday, January 30, 4:30-8 p.m. 
Cape Falcon Marine Reserve Kick-Off Party
Join the Friends of Cape Falcon Marine Reserve in celebrating ocean conservation with live music (Two Crows Joy), food & drinks, information about the marine reserve, and family-friendly activities.
Cannon Beach Community Hall – 207 N Spruce St, Cannon Beach.

For more information on the above events or about local marine reserve field trips, lectures, and volunteer opportunities, contact Chrissy Smith, Coordinator of the Friends of Cape Falcon Marine Reserve at 541-231-8041 or capefalconmr@gmail.com.