Pre Christmas searches; First Day hikes; Timber payments; Recycling Christmas; Coastal rehab grants; and Watching whales

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Busy times for searchers…

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended a search Friday afternoon for a 27-year old man who was swept from the rocks near Cape Perpetua Thursday.  The man reportedly fell into the water at Thor’s Well, near Cook’s Chasm just south of Cape Perpetua.  That has not been confirmed.  Coast Guard helicopter and boat crews searched for more than 15 hours alongside Oregon State Police and Yachats fire department personnel.  Commander Charles Guerrero with Coast Guard Sector North Bend said suspending a search is one of the hardest decisions to make.

Meanwhile Oregon State Police and Charleston firefighters worked to recover the body of a man who fell from an 80-foot cliff at the south cove of Bastendorff Beach in Coos County.  36-year old Ryan Crouser of Coos Bay died Thursday.  Police said it does not appear foul play was involved.

There was good news related to at least one search effort last week.  32-year old Amanda Cagle of Reedsport was visiting her brother at a logging site on Five Mile Road near Tahkenitch Lake Thursday evening and decided to go for a late night walk.

13-hours later Douglas County Search and Rescue crews were able to locate her wet and cold, but otherwise unharmed.

First day hikes set

Oregon State Parks and Recreation will host 21 different “First Day” hikes at state parks on New Years’ Day.

You can “hike-in” the new year with walks in the Portland area, on the Columbia River Gorge, in the Willamette Valley and Cascades, Southern Oregon, and Eastern Oregon.

Nine of those hikes will be hosted at coast state parks, including two in our immediate area.

Hikers can meet at ten am Sunday morning at the Coast Guard Tower at the Siuslaw River North Jetty Parking lot;

Or, they can meet at the Lake Marie Trail sign at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park.

Lisa Sumption, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department  director says the hikes can be a “fun, healthy and memorable” way to enjoy your first walk of the new year.

Parking and day use fees at applicable areas will be waived for those participating in the hikes.

Timber payments urged

Oregon’s Senate delegation has teamed up to urge federal officials to send Oregon counties their share of timber revenue from public lands as quickly as possible.

Under the 1937 Oregon and California Railway Lands act a portion of the revenue received from logging on those lands is required to be shared with local counties.  Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley each sent letters this week to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, urging the two agencies to make the payments in a timely manner.  Last year, the payments to 33 Oregon counties totaled $95-million and was not received until March.

Recycling your Christmas

Once the gifts are unwrapped and the decorations begin to come down, what do you do with the leftovers?

Lane County Master Recycler Kelly Bell says there are alternatives to just throwing it all in the trash.

Some of those alternatives are easier than others if you live in the Willamette Valley.  Things like block Styrofoam or packing peanuts that were packed around gifts can be recycled, but not at the curbside… you’ll have to take them to one of three St. Vincent DePaul locations in Eugene and Springfield and drop them off.

Same thing with Christmas lights… working or not… they can be donated to Next Step Recycling in Eugene.

Gift wrap paper can be recycled at the curb, as can cardboard boxes.

Finally… that Christmas Tree.  Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue volunteers will be picking up trees twice in coming weeks… Saturday December 31st, then again on Saturday the 7th of January.  Call the fire station this week week to schedule your pickup.

Forest service receives two grants to help coastal habitat

Siuslaw National Forest officials got some good news last week in the form of a pair of large grants totaling just under a half-million-dollars to help with ecological restoration on the Oregon Duens and restore streams and forest habitat on the North Coast.

The smaller grant, $82-thousand, will be used to help remove invasive vegetation on the dunes in three areas… near the mouths of the Siltcoos River, Tahkenitch Creek and Tenmile Creek.

A total of 210 acres will benefit from the “Pulling Together Initiative” that is a cooperative effort that includes the Siuslaw National Forest, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the off-road group Save the Riders Dunes as well as other local groups.

The larger grant, $413-thousand will be shared between several groups and efforts to restore Coho salmon habitat in the Nestucca and Tillamook Bay watersheds.

Time for watching the whales

Gray whales are on the move along the Oregon Coast this week; headed south to their wintering grounds off Baja California in Mexico.

They’re relatively easy to spot from several locations along the Oregon Coast and between Tuesday and Saturday this week, they’ll be even easier to locate.

That’s because volunteers, coordinated by the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department, will be at 24-different locations between ten am and one pm on those days to share whale watching tips, migration facts and whale feeding habits.

A complete listing of those locations can be found at www-dot-whalespoken-dot-org.

The two closest spots are near Sea Lion Caves north of Florence, and at the Wayfinding Point on Highway 101 just south of Winchester Bay.