Cape Perpetua Discovery Series Explores War Camp, Peace Movement Feb. 13

Contact(s): Lisa Romano, Paul Meznarich

The blue-collar logging community of Waldport hardly would seem the birthplace for the radical peace movement of the 1960s. But a war a generation earlier and a conscientious objectors camp on the Siuslaw National Forest may have laid the groundwork for the ensuing cultural revolution.

Author and historian Steve McQuiddy will discuss his book “Here on the Edge” at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, as part of the Winter Discovery Series at the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center, 2400 S. Highway 101.

From October 1942 until April 1946, Camp Angell was the second conscientious objector’s camp in Oregon, detaining about 120 objectors. A brochure circulated at the time, penned by renowned poet William Everson, described the camp as a “School for Fine Arts,” and men with interests or experience in the creative arts were invited to transfer to the camp.

“These people had an enormous effect on an entire generation,” McQuiddy said. “But many Americans today are not even aware that there were conscientious objectors at all during World War II.”

During the day, the men worked planting trees, crushing rock, building roads, chopping wood and fighting forest fires. At night, however, they produced books, plays, art and music – giving up to 15 community performances a week. The camp produced such literary works as “War Elegies” and “Waldport Poems” by Everson and “Horned Moon” by Glen Coffield.

After the war, McQuiddy said, camp members went on to influence other cultural events which eventually led to the radical peace movement of the ‘60s.

“Nearly all the great social movements in history can be traced to small groups working in obscurity, sometimes for years,” McQuiddy observes. “It’s powerful to actually see the evidence of how small actions really can make a big difference.”

McQuiddy has won awards for his feature writing, while “Here on the Edge” was a 2014 finalist for the $10,000 Dayton Literary Peace Prize. He is an honorary director of the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission and teaches writing at Lane Community College in Eugene.

The Cape Perpetua Winter Discovery Series is an opportunity to explore topics and resources relevant to the Oregon Coast during the off-season months between November and March. All presentations and guided walks are free, but a Northwest Forest Pass, Oregon Coast Passport, federal recreation pass or $5 day-use fee is required within to the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area.

For more information, contact the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center at 541-547-3289.

Upcoming Winter Discover Series events

  • Feb. 27 (2 p.m.) – Whales of the Oregon Coast: Joy Primrose, president of the Oregon Chapter of the American Cetacean Society, will discuss the diverse species of whales, dolphins and porpoises found off the Oregon Coast. No RSVPs necessary. For information, call the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center at 541-547-3289.
  • March 5 (1 p.m.) – The Amanda Story and Trail: Learn the tale behind the trail. Doc Slyter, an elder, flutist and tribal council member for the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians, along with Yachats resident and trails enthusiast Joanne Kittel, will tell the story of a native woman and her people’s forced march over Cape Perpetua’s rocky headland to a resettlement camp and the legacy they left behind. No RSVPs necessary. For information, call the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center at 541-547-3289.
  • March 20 (2 p.m.) – Children’s Stories and Tidepool Walk: Children’s author Kizzie Jones will read from one of her latest books, and then join families down at the tidepools for a guided tour. Jones blends her love of dachshunds and the ocean to create whimsical tall tales. Titles to her credit include “How Dachshunds Came to Be: A Tall Tale About A Short Long Dog” and “A Tall Tale About A Dachshund And A Pelican: How A Friendship Came To Be.” No RSVPs necessary. For information, call the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center at 541-547-3289.
  • March 26 (2 p.m.) – Oregon Dunes: They’re more than just sand. Learn about the origins, shapes and future of the longest stretch of coastal dunes in the United States. Dina Pavlis, author of “Secrets of the Oregon Dunes” will share photos, stories and knowledge gained from living and playing within the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. No RSVPs necessary. For information, call the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center at 541-547-3289.

man standing by the wooden sign for Camp 056 at Camp Angell