Florence, Oregon is a town of art. On the left, there is a photo of one of the latest murals. Spectacular.
The city contains a lot of artistic murals, displays, statues (of seal lions). Bunches.
Florence is located at the mouth of the Siuslaw River about midway between Newport and Coos Bay. It has a population of approximately 8,466 people.
Florence is a historic riverfront town that provides a diverse array of activities for locals and visitors.
While logging, commercial fishing, and agricultural industries have served as the historical pillars of Florence’s economy, tourism is becoming increasingly significant. There are a variety of businesses, points of interests, and parks in and around Florence that offer unique experiences and outdoor recreation.
The Keeper’s House functions as both an interpretive center and a bed and breakfast. Guided tours are offered by knowledgeable docents during the summer to educate visitor’s about the iconic lighthouse and its rich history.
A ‘must see’ attraction located 15 minutes from the Florence city center is North America’s largest sea cave. This amazing cave is a privately owned wildlife preserve and bird sanctuary.
As many as 200 Stellar sea lions reside in the cave. The Sea Lion Caves are part of the Oregon/Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve.
Visitors can take an elevator ride descending 200 feet down into the Sea Lion Caves, which is as tall as a 12-story building and as wide as a football field.
The Caves are not a zoo. The wild animals are protected and come and go as they please and follow their normal routines.
The cave is alive with sound, roars, bird calls, and crashing waves. This sea cave is the only known mainland home of wild sea lions in the world and is a must see for visitors of Florence.
During the summer, sea lions lounge in the rookery areas (along the rock ledges outside) with their young. In the fall and winter, they can be found inside the cave’s natural amphitheater.
How did people get around on the coast before roads and rail networks? By water and inland steamboats.
The term ‘steamboat’ refers to smaller, steam-powered boats that often worked the lakes and rivers. River steamboats had flat bottoms and rear engines, and were particularly effective in still waters.
Larger ocean-going steam powered boats were called steamships, stearnwheelers, or propeller boats. These larger ships were also used for larger rivers like the Columbia.
Bays and Rivers
Many coastal towns have relatively shallow protected bays with access to rivers. These bays were perfect for small steamboat services such as delivering mail, parcels, products, and people.
Smaller ships were quite numerous in many communities and often referred to as the “mosquito fleet.”
For instance, in mid 1800s R.D. Hume, a pioneering businessman, established a fish cannery and several other businesses in southern Oregon. In 1881, he built a stem schooner, the Mary D. Hume, to support his business endeavors and conducted steamboat operations on the Rogue River as late as 1939.
Hume continued his interest in steamboats and built more during his lifetime. In 1908, he commissioned two small gasoline-powered schooners, the Enterprise and Osprey which were built on the Coquille River.
In 1938, the Mary D. Hume was still operating on the Rogue River. She was considered to be the oldest commercial vessel still in service at that time.
Many communities thrived with the steamboat trade, labor requirements, building, and maintenance. The Coquille River was a major trade route between Bandon and the town of Coquille and supported a number of sawmills, canneries, a woolen mill, and match factory. Other products often transported included coal and milk.
Once the two jetties built at the mouth of the Coquille River were complete, the City of Bandon bustled economically. These jetties facilitated ocean-going ships to dock at Bandon. From 1905 to 1910, Bandon expanded to have five sawmills, two shipyards, and a population of 1,800.
Coos Bay had a similar story. In 1869, mule-hauled portages were created at Coos Bay (on the southern arm) and at the Beaver Slough (north-extending branch of the Coquille River) to support the steamboat traffic.
In 1873, two steamboat captains began steamboat operations on Coos Bay. These two captains had previously worked on the Columbia River and understood the difficulties of river bar crossings.
The mule-portages were replaced in 1874 with a steam portage railroad and railroad services grew. These connections created a convenient link between steamboat and rail operations in Coos Bay and Coquille.
Mosquito fleet operations on the Coquille and Coos Bay continued up to the 1930s. A small gasoline-propeller ship, Welcome, built in 1919 continued running up the Marshfield to Allegany until 1948.
Gardiner, near Reedsport built several river steamers and continues that key role today. In 1870, Gardiner merchants were eager to demonstrate the navigability of the Umpqua River.
Steamboat operations on the Umpqua were pursued by Captain Godfrey Seymore who developed a small fleet of ships including one named ‘Swan.’ The Swan was a unique ship and the only steamboat to travel the Umpqua to Roseburg.
It took the Swan 11 days to get to Roseburg which is 85 miles from the mouth of the Umpqua River. No other steamboat ever made this trip. The trip was not in vain. It helped persuade Congress to allocate monies to clear the Umpqua channel and set the stage for a greater future.
By 1849 there was a dramatic transition in boat building and use. Builders moved from wood to metal, from small to large, from slow to fast, to take advantage of ocean trade routes and tourism.
As steamboat services came to a close, several ships were beached along the coast, rivers and towns. The Mary D. Hume lies on the shore at Gold Beach and is on the National Register of Historic Places. At least three steamers were beached near Bandon, and the steam ferry Roosevelt was photographed abandoned near Marshfield in 1941.
There are many stories about steamboats on the Oregon Coast. To learn more about them, visit this list of references and check their references for more stories, lists of vessels, and history.
REFERENCES: –Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… Steamboats of the Oregon Coast (…Steamboats_of_the_Oregon_Coast), Steamboats of Coquille River (…Steamboats_of_the_Coquille_River), Columbia River (…Columbia_River) –Wikipedia, Steamboats (https://en.wikipedia.org/steamboats)
Humans have a love-hate relationship with Largemouth bass. How can the most popular game fish in North America also be an invasive species?
Largemouth bass are carnivorous freshwater found in lakes, ponds, and rivers. Coastal fish in our region can exceed 25-inches and weigh 12 lbs. The longest ever largemouth bass recorded at 39.2 inches; the heaviest at 22 lbs.
The original largemouth bass North American range included the St. Lawrence River, Great Lakes, Hudson Bay-Red River, and Mississippi River basin. Largemouth bass are found North Carolina to Florida and into northern Mexico.
Bass are considered to be one of the world’s most tolerant freshwater fish that easily adapt to lakes, ponds, reservoirs, rivers, and sloughs. They are also tolerant of various water temperatures (both hot and cold). This flexibility has helped these fish become year-around favorites in many areas. Georgia and Mississippi chose largemouth bass as their ‘State Fish.’ Florida and Alabama chose the bass for their ‘State Freshwater Fish.’
Bass look for areas with weedy or overhanging cover, submerged structures, and varying depths. They look for sandy, mucky, or gravelly bottoms. Rock and weedy bottoms are using for nesting. Too much weed cover hampers hunting and feeding activities and can cause the fish to starve.
Adult Largemouth bass are opportunistic Apex predators. They have the capability of outcompeting native fish and other species when transplanted to a new environment. This has led to declines and extinctions of native frogs, salamanders, and a wide variety of fish species in some lakes.
As adults, they hunt smaller fish and younger members of large fish species. Other prey include snails, crawfish, snakes, water birds/fledglings, and mammals (bats, etc.). Prey may be as large as 50 percent of the fish’s body or larger.
There will be no question if you hook a Largemouth bass. When hooked, bass will leap, dive, and put up a good fight. These antics and powerful fight has helped make them one of the most popular recreational fish species in the world.
Bass fishing is a multi-million dollar industry in the U.S. Competitive bass fishing is popular in the U.S., Japan, Korea, Italy, Australia, and South Africa. The popularity of bass fishing has encouraged the development of specialized gear such as:
electronic “depth” finder and “fish” finding instruments,
drift boats, float tubes, and bass boats.
These fish are very tolerant to careful catch and release fishing. Large largemouth bass are often adult breeding females that should be released when possible.
Can you eat them?
Why yes. In the spring, the smaller largemouth (around 10-14 inches) typically have higher quality meat. The meat has few bones making it a choice for grilling, frying, or adding to other recipes. Cooking odors may say ‘outdoor barbeque’ for many, and the taste may be a little too ‘fishy’ for some (based on the individual fish’s diet).
Where to fish them?
There are fantastic fishing areas in our region. Some areas to visit include: Tenmile Lakes in Lakeside (premier), and Loon, Tahkenitch, Siltcoos, and Lytle Lakes. For more information see your Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife regulations and license requirements.
REFERENCES: –Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, largemouth bass (https://myodfw.com/fishing/species/largemouth-bass) –Canada BC Invasive Fish (https://bcinvasives.ca/invasive-species/identify/invasive-fish/largemouth-bass) –Best Fishing in America, Largemouth bass fishing in Western Oregon (https://www.bestfishinginamerica.com/OR-largemouth-bass-fishing-in-western-oregon.html) –Wikipedia, largemouth bass (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Largemouth_bass) –USDA, Fish and Wildlife Service, Freshwater Fish of America (https://www.fws.gov/fisheries/freshwater-fish-of-america/largemouth_bass.html) –Can you eat largemouth bass (https://btycc.org/can-you-eat-largemouth-bass/#Is-largemouth-bass-good-to-eat?)
Associate Professor - Tourism and Business Development
College of Forest Ecosystems & Society
Oregon State University Extension - Oregon Sea Grant
Equal Opportunity/Accessibility https://extension.oregonstate.edu/equal-opportunity-accessibility