By Sea Grant Interns Dustin James and Catie Michell

On July 14-16, Catie and I had the fortune of working alongside Justin Meyers of Myers Imaging Company and Erik Urdahl of Urdahl Photo as they completed their shoot of the South Coast for our Wild Rivers Photo Project. The Wild Rivers Coast Photo Project is a Travel Oregon funded project to get professional images of Oregon’s South Coast. These images will be used for tourism marketing purposes and will focus on outdoor recreation, natural scenery, in-town hotspots, and local wildlife. Justin and Erik had come down mid-June to shoot the areas of Bandon and Port Orford and on this particular weekend they were focusing their shoot on Gold Beach and Brookings. In total they will be shooting approximately 200 photos for this project.

Morning paddle-boarding at Sunset Beach

We met up with Justin, Erik, and Dave Lacey of South Coast Tours LLC at 6:45am on Friday. They started their shoot doing an early morning paddle-boarding session at Secret Beach, and the day just took off from there. Throughout the day, we visited spots like the Chetco River’s Elephant Rock, the Brookings port, and various restaurants. We concluded the day with photographs of sunset at Samuel Boardman State Park. On Saturday, Justin and Erik took photos of Catie and I paddleboarding on Hunter Creek near Gold Beach. We then went tidepooling at Harris Beach State Park, followed by some ocean fishing and eventually a few visits to breweries and other businesses. The eventful day was concluded with late afternoon paddle-boarding at Secret Beach once again. On Sunday, I joined Justin up in Port Orford as he took a few street biking photos along the Elk River.

Cliff jumping at Elephant Rock on the Chetco River

The photos will be used for free by communities along the Wild Rivers Coast to help market to visitors. The community official destination management organization (DMO) will be able to access images through a service provided by the Oregon Coast Visitor Association (OCVA) who will manage the images.

(Right to left) Justin Meyers, Erik Urdahl, and myself

To see more of Justin’s and Erik’s work, check out their websites at http://www.myersic.com/ and http://urdahlphoto.com/.

Image result for winchester bay fishing

Winchester Bay is located where the Umpqua River meets the Pacific Ocean, just north of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. While the timber, agriculture, and fishing industries have been a dominant contributor to the town’s economy throughout the 1900s, today, tourism is increasingly becoming more prominent. One thing in particular that is bringing in people is the great fishing opportunities. With its unique location, Winchester Bay is an ideal region for lake, river, and ocean fishing.

In the past, Winchester Bay has faced strict fishing regulations due to decreases in the salmon population. Regulations peaked in 2008 when all ocean salmon fishing was prohibited, leading to a $22 million in statewide losses to businesses that support recreational fishing with most of those losses occurring in coastal towns. In addition to this, commercial fishing businesses were projected to lose $23 million due to the closure. Fortunately for Winchester and the rest of the Oregon coast, sport salmon fishing was given the go-ahead by the Pacific Fishery management Council in early April 2017 under certain restrictions. To view a detailed account on season starting dates, areas open, and catch limits, click here.

 

From rock fish, to ling cod, to both the chinook and coho salmon, and even sturgeon, Winchester Bay is not lacking in fish species. There are a number of fishing charters that make full use of these unique fishing opportunities. Charters can be found on the Oregon Coast Visitor Association’s website. Crabbing is allowed year round in bays, estuaries, tide pools, piers, and jetties, with a license. So bring your crab pots and fishing lines over to Winchester Bay for a good time!

Reedsport, OR, a city of approximately 4,154 people, is situated on the estuary of the Umpqua River and is named after a local settler who founded the city in 1912, Alfred W. Reed.

Reedsport, OR. Image Source.

At that time, the Southern Pacific Railroad lines extending south to Coos Bay led to the development of Reedsport, which was originally a camp for railroad construction workers before the post office was established that same year.

Like many communities on the coast of Oregon, Reedsport historically was economically dependent on Oregon’s timber industry and has been subsequently impacted by the industry’s decline. In the past two decades, however, Reedsport has experienced an increase in tourism due to various nearby points of interest and the large amount of outdoor recreational opportunities available. The Umpqua River supports one of the largest recreational fishing ports on the coast of Oregon and is the largest river between Sacramento and the Columbia.

The Umpqua River Bridge, Reedsport, OR. Image Source.

Reedsport also sits in the heart of the Oregon Dunes National Recreational Area; therefore there are many opportunities to explore, hike, ATV, and more on the Dunes.

Reedsport is arguably most notably known for the famous Dean Creek Elk Viewing area, which is just three miles east of town on Highway 38. The Dean Creek Elk Viewing area is owned and managed by the Bureau of Land Management and is a popular stop for tourists along the highway. Throughout the year, visitors are treated to up-close views of Roosevelt elk grazing and resting in their resident meadow. Roosevelt elk are the largest of the four North American elk subspecies.

Roosevelt elk at the Dean Creek Wildlife Area, Reedsport, OR. Image source.

The herd at the Dean Creek Elk Viewing area sometimes reaches as many as 120 elk, and other wildlife that visitors often see include beavers, muskrat, mallards, Canada geese, and great blue heron. To learn more about the Dean Creek Viewing area, visit the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife’s visitor guide.