Updated: May 14
Black Oystercatchers, photo by Gleneda Borton
Did you know that all Oregon beaches are public beaches? This is unique to Oregon. Some access points may be private but once you are on the beach it is public land. We are truly grateful for the Face Rock Wayside beach as our labyrinth canvas. There are so many wonderful beaches along the Oregon coast and they all have their interesting characteristics but Face Rock Wayside provides a cliff for viewing, flat, sandy stretches for drawing, and the sea stacks for visual drama.
Circles in the Sand has a passion for sharing the labyrinths with the world. Our commitment includes protecting the natural ocean environment around us. We encourage our visitors to explore the beaches and sea stacks while being mindful of all the nature around us. This time of year the retreating tides expose tidepools full of sea grasses, palms, mussels, ochre sea stars, sea anemones, and numerous other creatures. This is also a major nesting area for myriad seabirds. This is their habitat and we respectfully visit as often as possible.
Ochre sea stars and mussels
This season we are joining with the Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to educate our visitors about how to participate in protecting and respecting the coastline here in Bandon. As part of our introductory speech to open each day's labyrinth a spokesperson from the Wildlife Refuge or its volunteer branch SEA (Shoreline Education for Awareness) will speak briefly about the do's and don'ts of interacting with the marine life.
Kate Iaquinto, Refuge Manager kindly provided us with the following information.
All island and sea stacks along the coast, including Bandon, are protected as part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. These rocks are critical for nesting habitats for millions of seabirds. Black oystercatchers, common murres, and tufted puffins are nesting now. The oystercatchers build their nests just above the high tide line so climbing on the island and sea stacks is prohibited. Drones that fly over islands and disturb nesting birds violate federal laws.
If you are close enough to marine mammals and seabirds that they respond to your presence, you are too close. Seals and their pups may be on the beach. Please give them space of at least 50 feet, keep dogs leashed, and don't linger. Seal pups and their mothers need their rest just like human newborns and their moms.
When tidepooling, stay on the sand. Climbing the rocks can be harmful to the barnacles, anemones, mussels, and snails.
Always remember to never turn your back on the ocean. Sneaker waves can come up at any time.
Our Circles team is mindful about leaving no trace behind, except footprints. We love to incorporate bull kelp, mussels, all sorts of rocks, driftwood, and other things found on the beach into our artwork. When we add shells, geodes, and items we did not find on the Bandon beaches we pick them up before the tide rolls in. Extra bags are carried by our team for picking up trash. If you are visiting us we ask that you also carry out your own trash and pick up any you see on the beach or in the parking lot. We like to leave the area cleaner than it was when we arrived.
For more information on how to respectfully enjoy the Oregon beaches, visit the Bandon Marsh Wildlife Refuge website, https://www.fws.gov/refuge/bandon_marsh/
To learn more about SEA check out their website, sea-edu.org
To learn why mother harbor seals leave their pups on the beach and so much more click on this link, https://mmi.oregonstate.edu/ommsn/harbor-seal-pupping-season-has-begun
We also recommend a Youtube video, Tidepools, Rocky Reefs, Marine Reserves: It's all connected.
Today is the first day of a four-day draw series. We are excited to get back on the sand and enjoy all of the marine life and humans too.