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.

Support

Our mission is a labor of love, but it does come with overhead. If you’d like to support our efforts we’d certainly appreciate it. Currently, we’re actively participating in the following field research:

  • COASST Beached Bird Surveys
  • Wild and Scenic River Project

Thank you.

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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.

Member of the following

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Working to provide opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to make a difference as they play in the outdoors.
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Working to translate long-term monitoring into effective marine conservation solutions.
Sea Grant Washington
Provide integrated research, communication, and education to coastal communities that lead to the responsible use of the nation’s oceans.

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Looking down on our campground from atop Tower Rock. It's a straight 2000' straight drop from here. ...

Driving up to Mosquito Meadows I noticed a dark shadow and gap just off the forest road. This small but picturesque waterfall on Pinto Creek was the reward for pulling off to investigate.⁠ ...

Heading out to Gifford Pinchot National Forest to explore a few new areas. ...

After a week of sitting on the shoreline waiting for the weather on Augustine Island and her volcano, we finally had our chance to paddle over to the mainland. Fortune smiled at us that day! ...

A kayaker making his way across Coldwater Lake with the crater of Mt. St. Helens in the background. ...

On May 16, 1898, the North Head Lighthouse was put into service as the primary navigation aid at the mouth of the Columbia River and still stands as a sentinel overlooking this treacherous body of water, the confluence between the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. ...

This root was near our campsite. I was intrigued because it looks like an entire forest wrapped around it. ...

Mt. St. Helens seen from Windy Ridge. ...

Cispus River with Tower Rock in the background. Our camp was locate on the banks of the river. ...

River bank of the Cispus River inside the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. ...

Headed back to Mt. St. Helens for the weekend. Hoping to visit some of our favorite places as well as discover new ones. ...

Buck Creek is one of the many waterways that feed the Suiattle River. We spotted this view during our last Wild and Scenic Rivers fieldwork. ...

During our recent Wild and Scenic River Survey we had the opportunity to do a bit of exploring. Here's Buck Creek which drains into the Suiattle River. ...

Theresa taking a sample for the Wild and Scenic Rivers project with Adventure Scientist. We'll be heading out to the Suiattle River this weekend for another round of data. ...

Looking out over Crescent Bay from Tongue Point. We recently experienced the lowest tides in a decade here in Washington. ...

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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