Oregon State Parks to host whale watching program in person

PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — This month, thousands of gray whales will migrate south through Oregon’s waters to the warm lagoons of Baja Mexico, and visitors have the chance to watch their journey.

Oregon State Parks will host Whale Watch Week in person along the Oregon coast for the first time since 2019. The event will kick off on Dec. 28 and runs through January 1, 2023.

Trained volunteers will be stationed at nearly all of the 17 whale watching sites along the Oregon coast, organizers said. The volunteers will help visitors spot the whales, share information and answer questions from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily.

The week-long whale watching program was first canceled in 2020 at the start of the pandemic.

Peter McBride is a park ranger with Oregon State Parks.

“It’s something that Oregon State Parks has been doing for more than 40 years now, and we’re really glad to bring it back in person,” McBride said in a news release.

Over the course of the next several weeks, an estimated 19,000 gray whales are expected to swim past Oregon’s shores to the warm lagoons near Baja, Mexico. Roughly 30 whales pass by each hour, according to Oregon State Parks.

People planning to take part are encouraged to bring binoculars and know the tide schedule. It’s best to get outside in the morning and pick a view point high enough to spot the spouts.

Can’t travel to the coast? Whale watchers year-round can visit the Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay for interactive exhibits and panoramic ocean views.

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