When I travel to the Oregon coast through hwy 101 the first coastal city I come to is Reedsport. Before I reach Reedsport there is a place to stop and view wildlife, specifically elk. This place is called Dean Creek. The past couple of times I have came to this spot the elk were hiding. However, a week ago when I traveled to the coast and back I found there were many elk all over this viewing area. It is a protected area now, but it wasn’t always this way.
In the 1930s a highway was built which made it hard for the elk to get to the Umpqua area. There were farms around the Dean Creek. This is where the elk decided to stay. Sometimes the elk were killed and used for food. However, this was only done if necessary and all of the elk was used. The natives often used elk meat for stews. They used the elk hide and skin to make blankets, shoes, clothing and spiritual ceremonial clothing.
One of the most interesting facts I discovered about the elk was how little they sleep. I expected such a big animal to need a lot of sleep. However, elk only sleep about 2 1/2 to 4 hours a day! That’s less than I sleep! Elk also swim and can jump fences up to 8 feet. This helps them to escape falling trees.
Most elk live about 10-15 years. Some live 20 years. It only takes about 3-5 months for an elk to grow a complete set of antlers. The elk at the Dean Creek viewpoint are known as Roosevelt Elk. Dean Creek Elk Viewing is a nice detour on a trip to the Oregon coast.