The Neskowin Ghost Forest of Oregon is Incredible

Incredible shot from Peter Roome / Flickr

This isn’t your typical Oregon coast forest because it’s actually in the water.  Two thousand years ago a powerful earthquake shifted part of an ancient sitka spruce forest in Neskowin Oregon into the tidal zone, creating a graveyard of trees.  To this day, the remains of these trees are visible, when conditions are right, in the sand and surf near Neskowin, Oregon. Local residents call it the “Ghost Forest.”

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Neskowin Ghost Forest, 2012. Wolfram Burner/Flickr

Some stumps are as young as the 1700 Cascadia earthquake.  The ghost forest is near Proposal Rock. It is part of the Neskowin Beach State Recreation Site and was unearthed when tides swept away the sand over the winter of 1997–1998.

 

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The stumps are only rarely visible, and low tide in winter is the best time to see them. The stumps of the Ghost Forest have been estimated at approximately 2000 years old, and when they were alive, the trees are thought to have stood 150-200 feet high.

Scientists Know When The Last Big Earthquake Hit Oregon

 

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The last truly big earthquake hit Oregon on January 26, 1700 at approximately 9 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. The earthquake was said to be a magnitude 8 or 9 which occurred on the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a 600-mile stretch between Vancouver Island, British Columbia and Cape Mendocino, California.  How could scientists be so sure?

According to OPB.org, “American researchers used carbon dating on the spruce, peat and fossilized plants. Sitka spruce as far apart as southern Washington and Northern California died from the high waters during the same few decades — some time between 1695 and 1720. Their rings were wide right up through the last ring, proving that a sudden event rather than slow sea level rise was the culprit.”

 

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And if that’s not incredible enough, they even know the exact hour the quake took place. See the link here to read more at opb.org on that subject.

Getting To The Neskowin Ghost Forest

Peter Roome / Flickr

This mysterious area is fairly easy to access and can be seen year round. 15 miles north of Lincoln City on Hwy 101, at milepost 98 you’ll find the quiet community of Neskowin.

 

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The best way to get to the ghost forest is to park in the public lot at the Neskowin turnoff and enter onto the beach directly in front of Proposal Rock.  Be careful not to go onto private property as the property on the dunes to the East of the ghost forest are all privately owned.  The stumps are south beyond Slab Creek, which runs through the beach towards Proposal Rock and into the ocean.  Navigate across the cold and shallow creek (be careful) to reach the southern portion of the coastline.

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