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Seaside History

Clamming in Seaside: Then & Now

January 2, 2013 | by Nate Burke

This photo (taken during the late 1890s) shows Seaside visitors or residents out in force to take advantage of the bountiful razor clamming on Seaside’s beach front. It looks as if it’s a highly successful hunt considering the extreme low tide and the large container of razors clams tipped over in the foreground.  In our enlightened modern times, we are of course limited to 15 Razor clams per day.  However, considering that catch on display, it looks as if our predecessors weren’t saddled with limits. Notice too that this was before the widespread use of clam guns. Honestly, it doesn’t look like their success has suffered from lack of advanced technology.

The second picture (seen below) was taken in 2012 on a modern clamming expedition undertaken by some adventuresome locals taking advantage of the opening day of the new season. This is taken a bit north from the turnaround, hence Tillamook Head doesn’t loom quite as large, but you can clearly see the differences in topography.  The old picture shows a Tillamook Head that may have been recently logged, and it seems that low shrub dominates where nowadays the towering Sitka Spruce covers the whole expanse.

I find it awe-inspiring that the cohesion and common recreational bond of clamming on Seaside’s beach has been shared by different peoples and communities over spans of hundreds and hundreds of years.  It’s nice to know that not all things have changed too much.

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