Dynamite not an option this time

According to Oregon state officials, dynamite is not an option being considered for how to dispose of a 40-foot fin whale carcass that washed up on an Oregon beach over the weekend.

The carcass came to rest on an easily-accessible beach just a few miles north of where a giant sperm whale corpse washed up in November, 1970. The Oregon Highway Division had responsibility for disposing of the whale at that time, and their thinking was evidently along the lines that a dead whale was probably a lot like a huge boulder blocking a road construction project. The decision to use dynamite to obliterate the rotting, stinking whale carcass is now stuff of legend.

Regrettably, cooler heads prevail at the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, upon which the responsibility for disposing of the rare 40-foot fin whale falls today:

“We normally bury animals like this on the coast,” said Chris Havel, a state parks spokesman. “But the sand there is so shallow that burying just isn’t an option. There are also archaeological sites we have to be sensitive to….”

“One of the options is to tow it offshore, but that will take some coordination and logistics,” Havel said.

Asked if dynamite was one of the possibilities being considered, Havel burst out laughing, then answered, “No.” (RG)

Update: The whale has been buried on the beach at Devil’s Elbow State Park:

Old whale removal technique: Stuff full of dynamite, blow to smithereens.

New whale removal technique: Dig whale-sized hole. Roll whale down beach. Push whale into hole.

The modern-day approach to cetacean disposal proved far less messy than the former on Monday afternoon, as state parks officials and a crew from Florence-based Leisure Excavating bulldozed a 55-foot fin whale into a crater at Devil’s Elbow State Park. (RG)

View a great video of the burial, courtesy of the Register-Guard.

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