Crescent Beach New Base Camp For COASST Surveys

With the closer of the Quileute reservation we move our base of operations to Crescent Beach to conduct our COASST surveys.

Crescent Bay

So much of our day-to-day lives have been upended with COVID-19 it would be unreasonable to think that citizen-science, and in particular our participation with the University of Washington’s COASST program, would be spared. Although the task of actually doing the survey is unaffected, it’s finding a suitable basecamp that has been the linchpin in this process. It’s always been convenient to locate out La Push but the Quileute tribe has restricted access and there’s no indication that they’ll be reversing that decision anytime soon. We’ve tried a handful of other locations with various degrees, or not, of success. However, we may have finally found the perfect location in Crescent Bay.

Crescent Bay was once home to the appropriately named Port Crescent. A thriving and hopeful community located on the bay just west of Port Angels. Like so many other communities its hopes for prosperity rested on the location of the railroad terminals being expanded in this direction. When those hopes didn’t come to fruition, the town slowly withered and died. Finally, the Army burned the derelict buildings and abandoned homes to the ground, and now all that is left is the historic pioneer’s cemetery.

Crescent Beach
The sun setting over Crescent Bay wit Cape Flattery in the distance.

However, there are two campgrounds available. One is the Salt Creek County Park and the other is the privately owned Crescent Beach RV Beach Park. We’ve stayed at both and for the time being, they’ll be our basecamps for heading out the coast to conduct our bird surveys. I’ve been coming out here to explore for over twenty years and would hardly see a soul. Now it seems to be overrun with surfers but as they’re great stewards of the ocean, it’s nice to see them here.

Wild and scenic rivers

wild and scenic rivers project a huge success

As a team, we more than tripled the amount of data to date. We’ve received 573 completed surveys from 91 rivers this year, compared to 183 surveys from 41 rivers in 2020.

We’re proud to have been a part of this effort! We’re working on articles and videos so stay tuned. 

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With the closer of the Quileute reservation we move our base of operations to Crescent Beach to conduct our COASST surveys.

Storm Damage

We were lucky that our low tide was mid-morning which allowed us a more reasonable departure time to head out to the coast. Clear skies meant cold temperatures as we made our way around Lake Crescent. The surrounding mountains were snow-capped and there was some ice present around the fringes of the waterfall. In addition to the cold temperatures, there was plenty of evidence of wind damage as well.


Every winter the Pacific Northwest is raked with storms coming off the Pacific. This year was no exception. We usually find remnants of the storm on our trail down to the beach, but this trip was especially full of blowdowns. Just on our trail alone, we had a dozen or so trees that had come down and been chainsawed by the park service.

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Working to translate long-term monitoring into effective marine conservation solutions.
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Provide integrated research, communication, and education to coastal communities that lead to the responsible use of the nation’s oceans.

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Enjoying a bit of warmth on a cold clear winter's evening on the Olympic Coast. We don't get many days like this in the winter. ...

Setting up camp at Toleak Beach on the Washington coast. We took advantage of the clear but cold winter weather and hiked in the day before our #COASST bird survey. ...

Snug Harbor Cannery on the southern half of Chisik Island. I spent a few years guiding out of the Alaskan treasure. ...

Just published our latest adventure - Hit and Run at Bear Creek - You can find the link in my bio up top. ...

At the mouth of the Columbia River stands the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. Still active, she’s been guiding mariners since 1856. ...

A multitude of grey defines Lake Crescent during our latest #COASST survey. ...

The old Navy torpedo warehouse located on the grounds of Washington’s Manchester State Park. ...

While out dodging the rain showers, came across this beautiful Amanita muscaria near camp. The cap was a big as a dinner plate! ...

During our recent science trip to Suiattle River for the Wild and Scenic River Project, we were treated to these wonderful views. Here we're enjoying the winter's day with Mt. Baker in the background. ...

Our collection site for the Wild and Scenic River project. We grabbed river samples as well as tested ph, dissolved O2 and other data points. Turned out to be a great day in the field. ...

Heading out to start the Winter series of collection for the Wild and Scenic River project for Adventure Scientist. ...

These Nootka Rose caught my eye in camp this morning. Sitting here enjoying the fire listening to the geese overhead as they fly south. ...

Bear Canyon just outside Morton Washington is a little pocket of pristine wilderness. ...

Theresa doing her best to imitate the North Head Lighthouse. ...

A bridge span over the Green River. I love the contrast between the texture of the bridge and the fall colors of the background. ...

Here's a sunset from our recent #COASST bird survey at First Beach. The next day it poured rain. I measured over two inches just that afternoon. ...

Cougar Tracks

We have been coming down to Toleak Beach for over two years now, and in that time we’ve seen a wide variety of either wildlife or the clues of wildlife. This time we came across the tracks of a cougar who had been crossing the high tide line recently. Certainly, since high tide as his tracks would have been erased and that was only a couple of hours previous to our arrival. 

There was no mistaking these tracks and they were quite large; at least as big as my hand. There’s something that gives you a moment of pause when you release that there is a big predator in the immediate vicinity. As soon as I realized what I was looking at, I glanced over my shoulder both up and down the beach.

Of course, nothing came of our sighting and we patrolled the rest of our beach without incident, but it’s just these serendipity encounters and makes our COASST surveys so enjoyable and rewarding. Whether it’s a Humpback whale on the tide line or a doe with her fawn these are the wonders of nature that bring us over Scott’s Bluff to our beach time and time again.

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