Today, we add the breathtaking view and watchable wildlife of Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area to the Summer Bucket List.
Jutting into the Pacific Ocean, Yaquina Head is battered and scoured by waves, wind, and rain. The headland is a lava flow which originated 14 million years ago in eastern Washington and Oregon and traveled 300 miles before reaching the ocean. The lava then cooled to form basalt rock which refuses to be worn away as quickly as the surrounding sandstone and other rock. The bordering sandy beaches continue to recede, while Yaquina Head endures.
People have visited Yaquina Head for thousands of years. Layers of shell debris attest to native people’s taste for the mussels and other seafood found here more than 4,000 years ago. Oregon’s tallest and second oldest continually active lighthouse has illuminated this promontory since 1873. August 20 is the 140th anniversary of its lighting! The hard basalt which forms the headland was quarried and crushed to build local roads and driveways.
In 1980, Congress created the 100-acre Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. It is managed by the Bureau of Land Management to protect its unique scenic, scientific, educational, and recreational values for your enjoyment and the enjoyment of future generations. Cooperating in this endeavor are the State of Oregon, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Coast Guard. For more site information, contact the Yaquina Head Interpretive Center at (541) 574-3100, YHONA_comments@blm.gov or visit http://on.doi.gov/XspzvA.
Photos by Jeff Clark, BLM Oregon/Washington