Shipwreck- Uncovering Coos a~’s Historic Past
The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages more than 259 million surface acres in the United States, most of which are located in the twelve Western States, includimg Alaska.
Oregon’s ser Steve Samuels is an archaeologist based out of the BLM office in North Bend,
Oregon, who on a typical day manages and documents terrestrial resources for che region that include Native American pre-occupation sites, historic structures, and a lighthouse at Cape Blanco. Last December, this was all about to change.
Earlier in rhe year a number of beaches along the O regon coast,
stretching between Cannon Beach and Bandon, experienced a large degree of sand erosion brought on by winter storms.
This phenomenon, although not an unusual occurrence,
exposed several of Oregon’s maritime heritage resources that included skeletal remains of a sailing ship at Bandon, two cannons at Cannon Beach ,
and the complete bow section of an unknown shipwreck on the north spit of Coos Bay.
Over the course of 2-1 /2 m onths, the sand continued to move offshore, exposing more of the Coos Bay shipwreck,
once concealed below thirty feet of sand.
The wreck is located along rhe remote north spit trail system managed by BLM, along with its stare partner,
Oregon’s ser rhe Oregon Parks and RecSEA HISTORY”l 24, AUTOMN 2008 reation D epartment,
bur this did nor deter an overwhelming response by the public to visit rhe site.
While the BLM is experienced in managing outdoor recreation and irs multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations,
the mystery shipwreck created some new challenges for this federal agency.
Right away, they set our to maintain a balance between encouraging the public to visit the site.
while fi guring our what measures needed to be implemented to mitigate human impact on the historic resource.
This was partially accomplished through the agency’s requirement that allrerrain vehicle drivers must have a permit before rraveling to the site.
Ir was estimated that over 10,000 people visited the remote location, with the regional hotels benefiting from the outporing of interest.
Old shipwrecks evoke the public’s imagination: is it an old sailing ship,
maybe an old forgotten pirate ship, what’s its nationality,
where was it headed when it wrecked.
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