With the exception of a few months, our COASST surveys have continued despite the impact of Covid-19. Certainly, it changed quite a few aspects of how we conduct our surveys. Not the least was establishing our basecamp out of La Push with provided us with a quick 10-minute drive to our trailhead.
The pandemic has had other effects on the COASST program as well. From online training sessions to over-crowded backcountry venues. In the 3 years we’ve been surveying our beach, we’ve never had more than a dozen hikers on our beach And this was during the summer months. This year we had more than 55 hikers on the beach during one of our surveys.
Our volunteers collected water quality data from 128 Wild and Scenic Rivers, enabling federal and state agencies to improve accountability and inform river policy, protection, and management decisions.
Our Timber Tracking volunteers collected samples from 787 locations (and counting!) across the range of eastern black walnut, enabling the US Forest Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service to combat illegal logging.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration incorporated our microplastics data into their global marine microplastics dataset.
We tried a variety of different spots to base out of with different degrees of success. So when we heard that the Quileute Oceanside Resort had reopened to the public including their campground we were anxious to resume our relationship with this special place.
One of the most conspicuous changes was the new large building under construction high on the hill overlooking the rest of La Push. Apparently, this is to be the new school. Not only will it be out of any tsunami danger but from what we could see, it looks like it will be rather nicely laid out.
The rest of the community looked very much the same and we certainly enjoyed saying hello to familiar staff. The only real disappointment was the neighbors who decided to throw a birthday party for forty from a site designed to hold four. They seemed to be confused between tailgating and camping. The resort did what they could to keep them in check but it was a losing proposition.
It’s nice to see more people enjoying the outdoors. Hopefully, as more and more come to appreciate the benefits and beauty they’ll also want to protect and preserve it as well. Can’t let a few bad apples derail the mission.