An iconic sandstone formation on the Oregon coast known as “the duckbill” is no more, after a group of vandals forced the rocks to topple, leaving behind a devastated pile of rubble. The giant rock, known as “The Duckbill” measured up to 10 feet across, and was a sought-after destination just beyond the safety fence in Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area in Oregon’s Tillamook County. At first, park officials thought that the formation had fallen on its own, but video captured by a witness later revealed the extent of this terrible loss.
After discovering the formation had toppled, Oregon State Parks posted on Facebook on Sept. 1 warning visitors to the area that “the rubble serves as a sobering reminder of the ever present dangers of our fragile coastal rocks and cliffs.” They did not know, at that time, that it was intentionally knocked over by a group of ne’er-do-wells. That detail wasn’t known until authorities discovered that David Kalas posted a video of the vandalism act on Twitter. Kalas, who was not directly involved in the destruction, shot video of the group on Aug. 29 and then approached them with questions.
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Kalas told the local Fox News affiliate about his confrontation with the vandals immediately after the destructive act. They told him, reportedly, that they decided to topple the giant sandstone because one of their friends had broken his leg after falling off the rock, in a misguided effort to protect other park-goers from harm. Understandably, Kalas didn’t really buy that story, saying it “frustrated [him] because nobody forced them to climb on top of the rock.”
The naturally formed sandstone tower was an iconic part of the Oregon coastline, and had become a significant location for many people over the years. Despite its location behind a safety fence, many people climbed atop the rock to take pictures of important life events. “People got married on top of the rock, got their engagement photos on top of the rock,” Kalas told Fox News. “They can’t share that moment any more with their future children or their grandchildren or anyone like that, it will always just now be a memory,” he added.
Oregon State Parks posted an update on Sept. 6, explaining that the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is working closely with the Oregon State Police to determine the best course of action. The vandals, who have not yet been identified publicly, face a maximum penalty in the form of a $435 fine.
Images via David Kalas, Oregon State Parks and Thomas Shahan/Flickr