The Whale Trail and State Parks host inaugural ‘Orca Day’

Event takes place June 15, at Cape Disappointment State Park

The Whale Trail and Washington State Parks announce the inaugural “Orca Day” to educate people about the Southern Resident Orca population.

The free, family-friendly event will take place June 15, at Cape Disappointment State Park, located on the Long Beach Peninsula. The day will include kids’ activities from 1-4 p.m., and an evening presentation at 7 p.m. at the park’s Waikiki Amphitheater, 244 Robert Gray Drive Ilwaco.

The evening program features John Calambokidis from Cascadia Research and The Whale Trail’s Donna Sandstrom. Port of Ilwaco Commissioner Butch Smith will introduce the featured speakers.

The event is co-sponsored by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The afternoon activities and evening lecture will educate and inspire attendees with stories and facts about J, K and L orca pods along with an update on gray whales. Visitors to the interpretive Whale Trail can view many types of whales and marine mammals from shore. The trail spans from California to British Columbia, and Cape Disappointment State Park is one of 100 sites along the trail.

The southern resident orcas are endangered and could go extinct in as few as 100 years. Comprising just 76 individuals, the population is nearing its historical low of 71. Sandstrom, Smith and a representative from Washington State Parks serve on Governor Inslee’s Southern Resident Orca Task Force. In November 2018, the task force recommended 36 actions to recover the southern residents.

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“It’s not too late to save the southern residents—yet.” Sandstrom said. “The threats that have brought these beloved and iconic pods to the edge of extinction are all human-caused: loss of prey, noise and disturbance from vessels and toxic accumulations. We each and all have a role to play in their recovery.”

“As steward of Washington’s Seashore Conservation Area, State Parks is honored to be a partner in this inaugural event,” said Stephen Wood, parks interpretive specialist. “Cape Disappointment State Park is the ideal place along the southern Washington coast to see whales. North Head and the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center offer excellent, sweeping views and the best chance at successful whale watching.

About the Whale Trail: The Whale Trail inspires appreciation and stewardship of orcas, other marine mammals and the marine environment by identifying a network of viewing sites along the whales’ trails through the Salish Sea and along the Pacific Coast. From 16 inaugural sites in Washington state, the trail now includes more than 100 sites from British Columbia to Southern California. The Whale Trail has its roots in a rare conservation success—the successful return of the orphaned orca, Springer. The organization’s vision is a fully recovered Southern Resident orca population thriving in a healthy sea for generations to come. www.thewhaletrail.org

– Washington State Parks

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