CAPE KIWANDA, Ore. – For years and years, the sandstone pedestal on the Oregon coast was a tourist attraction, a perfect photo-op for its uncanny likeness to a duck’s bill.
So when officials found the beloved 7-foot-tall formation at Cape Kiwanda broken into a million pieces, they initially thought that age and gravity had done it in.
But then, a video emerged that pointed to the true culprit: vandals. More specifically, a group of people who crossed into the roped-off area and pushed and shoved the rock until it toppled over.
Now, the search is on for the offenders.
It wasn’t age …
Last week, Oregon State Parks posted a before and after shot of the rock on Facebook when the park first discovered the destruction.
“So this happened. The iconic sandstone formation at #CapeKiwanda–some called it the Duckbill–has collapsed. No one was injured, fortunately; but the rubble serves as a sobering reminder of the ever-present dangers of our fragile coastal rocks and cliffs. Who knows what will collapse next?#gravitywins #besafe,” the post said.
It was vandals
Soon after, a drone operator posted a video of the vandalism.
“I kind of laughed to myself. I thought there was no way that they could knock it down, but then I noticed that it started wobbling,” David Kalas told The Oregonian newspaper.
Kalas said when he confronted the group, they said they knocked the rock over because a friend had broken a leg on it.
“They basically told me themselves that it was a safety hazard, and that they did the world or Oregon a favor,” Kalas told KATU.
The vandals have yet to be identified but a pair of boyscout leaders faced charges for criminal mischief after toppling over a rock formation in Utah in 2014.
Authorities say they are reviewing the Oregon incident to determine how best to respond. “The department takes vandalism of a state park’s natural features seriously,” Chris Havel of Oregon State Parks told CNN.
Breaking park rules are violations, rather than crimes, and in this case carries a fine of $435, Havel said.
The Oregon State Police will determine if criminal charges are filed once the vandals are identified.