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Monday, September 8, 2008

Oregon ghost forest by sea may harbor climate clues

NESKOWIN, Ore. — As the beach near Neskowin washed away last winter, a ghost forest emerged that could give Oregon State University students a look at our past climate and, maybe, our future.

The forest has been preserved in the beach sands for thousands of years and consists of twisted chunks of wood emerging from the beach.

But now the program is on hold while the state reconsiders how it issues permits for such research.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department allowed students to take core samples from 30 trees and to cut wedges with a chain saw from up to six.

The research stopped when they were confronted by Toni Stevens, who has a vacation home there. Diane Bennett, a retired federal wildlife inspector, also objected, saying area residents are fond of the stumps.

"We call them stump people," she said. "They are the sentinels of Neskowin."

Researchers say they appreciate the concern but that the stumps are a valuable research source that is deteriorating.

The old stumps north of Lincoln City have drawn the interest of scientists and tourists alike.

Read on
The painting is by Laura Tasheiko

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