Seaside Stories

Seaside Elk

February 9, 2011 | by Becky Jensen

I was driving into Seaside, along Highway 101 South, and had just passed the Circle Creek Campsite on the left, when I noticed several cars parked off the side of the road. They were people standing around with cameras, and pointing into the field, and so I decided to pull over to see what was happening. As I got out of the car, I noticed there were animals in the field. I thought they were cows at first, but as I looked again I saw that it was Seaside’s own herd of elk.

I decided to do a little investigating into this herd of elk. Having lived on the North Oregon Coast for a while, I’ve seen elk up at Tillamook Head, Ecola State Park, and all along Highway 101, but this herd seems to consistently show up here at Circle Creek. I wanted to know more about these majestic animals that we locals take for granted, and visitors can’t seem to photograph enough.

I called the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and found out these are Roosevelt Elk, and that this herd is part of the Saddle Mountain Unit. There are around 7,500 elk in the Saddle Mountain Unit. Troy, from the ODFW, told me that just this morning they had flown over in a helicopter for their annual classification of the herd. He said that they saw four or five bulls in the group this morning.

He said that this herd uses the land as part of their habitat needs; that they forage for food, waters, etc. Elk usually only go where they can find their habitat needs, but Troy said that although it’s rare, the elk have been known to wander down to the beach, and have been photographed in the surf. He also told me that this herd of elk is genetically related to the same elk that were here when Lewis and Clark came to the Oregon Coast.

The land by Circle Creek, and the Tillamook Head State Park are both protected areas for the herd. The land by Circle Creek, where the elk graze, is former farmland that now belongs to the North Coast Land Conservancy. I called the NCLC, and talked to Katie, who told me about the Circle Creek area. It is 364 acres and the NCLC preserves the area, and the wildlife within (including elk, birds, salmon, etc). The elk are an important part of the ecosystem, and use that area as part of their winter habitat refuge, but it’s only one of their many habitats.

The NCLC is working to create an enhanced habitat, including returning the historical conditions (which was a natural coastal floodplain). They are planting native trees and shrubs, but it will never be a closed forest area. That way, visitors, locals, and I will be able to see the elk for many, many years to come!

Leave a Reply

and so much more!

Seaside Summer Event Guide

We know that Seaside’s stellar location is reason enough to visit. But summers here are jam-packed with events that you won’t ...

Learn More
Family Reunion

Seaside is a hot spot for family reunion get-togethers.

Learn More
Summer’s Great, but There’s Nothing Else like Winter in Seaside

When you imagine a classic beach town, you probably picture something similar to Seaside, Oregon. Our town of 6,700 sits less than...

Learn More
Seaside is Dressing Up for the Holidays

Seaside, Oregon preparations for the holiday season

Learn More
7 places to maximize indoor fun in Seaside, Oregon

How to vacation in Seaside, Oregon when the weather is cool and wet; hint: food, culture and fun....

Learn More
Our timeless ocean

Enjoying the ocean can be a timeless endeavor.

Learn More
Celebrating the Moms in Our Life

Honoring motherhood through a photo on the beach

Learn More
Klootchy Park's Sitka Spruce Tree
Near Seaside: Reviewing Klootchy Creek Park

Located adjacent to U.S. Highway 26, about 2.5 miles east of U.S. Highway 101, is the famous and previous national-record-breaking...

Learn More
Shopper’s Delight: Selnes Grocery

The hustle and bustle of Holiday shopping in Seaside circa 1926 was not nearly the same as it today.

Learn More
Shell Road

Shell Road was the small, primitive pathway that eventually became Broadway.

Learn More
SOLV Beach Clean Up

When I look at our beaches I don’t see garbage. I see a breathtaking coastline, and I think how lucky we are to have such pristine beauty right in our own backyard. I believe most beachgoers, both locals and tourists, are conscientious about disposing their refuse properly after a day playing on the beach. So why do we have the SOLV beach cleanup twice a year?

Learn More
Sea Foam on the shore's of The Cove in Seaside, Oregon
The Cove, Seaside’s Natural Treasure

Exploring Seaside's Cove, a natural wonder to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike

Learn More
View from the Tower

View from the old Seaside Hotel tower.

Learn More
Wildlife Along the Coast

Driving highway 101 can yield miles of scenic wonders

Learn More
Why This Family Comes Back To Seaside Year After Year

The calm waters of the Necanicum River in Seaside, Oregon. Photo: Alex Butterfield There’s something comfortingly classic about ...

Learn More
Seaside Beach Volleyball Tournament
World’s Largest Beach Volleyball Tournament

Come August, the “digs” along Seaside’s beach have nothing to do with razor clams. For the 36th year, Seaside will host the ...

Learn More
The Move to Mobile Browsing

Is your site optimized for mobile browsing? It should be. The Seaside Visitors Bureau is constantly tracking trends in the hospita...

Learn More
Watching Nature Run its Course in Seaside

Wonderful natural beauty in Seaside,

Learn More