Friday, July 10, 2009

Haystack Rock--A Marine Garden

As we approached Cannon Beach, OR, we caught glimpses of a huge rock on the ocean side of the town.

We soon learned that Haystack Rock is one of the most popular attractions on the Oregon coast.

The massive rock rises 235 feet above sea level and has a unique status. Since 1990, it has been designated a "Marine Garden." This status is given to sensitive areas that are heavily visited each year.

During our visit to Haystack Rock, we could see that even on a cool, cloudy day, the area of the beach near the Rock was heavily used. Here a family is preparing to "launch" a kite.

But it is Haystack's popularity that has necessitated the "Marine Garden" status, that is, the designation means that all living things within the selected area are protected.

This view from Ecola State Park emphasizes the beauty of the rock formations in the ocean off the shore of Cannon Beach, but without the requirement that the public is not allowed to remove life forms within 300 meters of Haystack or climb above the barnacle line that surrounds Haystack, the close-up beauty of the starfish, anemone, crabs, and other life forms would be lost.

We seem to have visited this area during cloudy or foggy times, so we have not seen the Tufted Puffin on the grassy north slope or the Pelagic Cormorant on the narrow ledges on the south-facing cliffs. However, we have seen many of the Western Gulls as they boldly attempt to sample foods from the tables of those dining outdoors.

We have visited Haystack Rock several times already in just the first three days here. My favorite time to photograph the Rock is during a foggy day. The fog seems to add a little mystery to the scene as well as softening the sharpness of Haystack's form.

Sunset, even during evening temperature in the mid 50s, drew many people to the area of the beach closest to the Rock. The sunset shown here was a nice introduction to the artistry that is possible.

Bring on the clouds, fog, and other atmospheric conditions conducive to colorful sunsets.

This night scene was created by a camera setting, but it presented another view of this remnant of volcanic eruptions nearly 17 million years ago and erosion promoted during the Ice Age.

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