Five Things to Know About Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach

The iconic Haystack Rock

The iconic Haystack Rock

1. Located just off the coast near midtown Cannon Beach, Haystack Rock is a 235-foot sea stack, one of the world’s largest monoliths, which are single great stones often in the form of an obelisk (pillar) or column.

2. It’s made of basalt, which is defined as a dark gray-colored fine-grained igneous rock of a lava flow that consists of basic plagioclase, augite, and usually magnetite, a rock mineral.

3. It’s both a protected wildlife refuge and a marine garden. In 1968, the state declared Haystack Rock a “wildlife refuge,” making it off limits to anyone without a permit. In 1976, it became a National Wildlife Refuge. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, “the refuge includes 1,853 rocks, reefs and islands and two headland areas and spans 320 miles of the Oregon coast.”

In 1990, the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife designated Haystack Rock as a marine garden, which the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department describes as “a specially protected area in which it is illegal to collect any marine invertebrate. Marine gardens are areas that are targeted for educational programs that allow visitors to enjoy and learn about intertidal resources.”

4. In a move designed to keep people from climbing on Haystack Rock, in October 1968, the state hired a pyrotechnics professor from Oregon State University to blast a ledge off Haystack using dynamite.

5. In the early 1900s, a man named “Mulhollan” filed a land claim on Haystack Rock. Little is known about Mr. Mulhollan, though a William E. (W. E.) Mulhollan served as the deputy superintendent of streets for the City of Portland in the late 1800s. Incidentally, a William Mulhollan of Portland filed a patent for an “improved harmonica holder” in 1888.

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