PACIFIC CITY, Ore. -- Video distributed on social media over the weekend shows vandals toppling the iconic pedestal rock at Cape Kiwanda.
Without evidence to the contrary, state parks officials last week had surmised that the rock had collapsed on its own, the victim of time and the elements.
"The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, in cooperation with the Oregon State Police, will review the incident immediately and decide how best to respond," read an official statement. "The department takes vandalism of a state park's natural features seriously."
The man who shot video of the vandals said he confronted the group and asked them why they toppled the pedestal. They answered that a friend had broken a foot jumping off of it.
The pedestal, behind fences warning against trespassing onto the dangerous cape, had the been the subject of many photos, ranging from weddings to visiting teens and families.
The pedestal was also known as “The Rock” and “The Duckbill,” was on the outer edge of the sandstone bluff. on the Oregon Coast. The bluff is considered very dangerous and has been the site of six deaths during the past two years.
Despite the danger, countless people ducked through the fence to take pictures atop the pedestal. It was particularly well-known for engagement photographs and it was frequently featured on the social media website Instagram.
Another shot from Cape Kiwanda shout out to these brave love birds! #wedding #weddingphotographer #weddingphotography #instawedding #photography #photographer #portlandphotographer #beach #oregonwedding #oregon #pnw #capekiwanda #peterellensphotography #canon #oregonnw
A photo posted by Peter Ellens Photography (@peterellens_photography) on
Chris Havel, spokesman for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, which manages the area and has attempted to discourage people from visiting the pedestal, said the collapse highlighted the unstable nature of Cape Kiwanda’s geology.
“There’s a good reason this area is fenced off,” Havel said. “It might look safe, but this is exactly what sandstone does: It gives out, often without warning.”
Havel said last week that there's no evidence it was struck down directly by people.
"The elements take the greatest toll by far, but when sandstone is close to giving way, a tiny bit of extra pressure from people will push it over the edge," Havel said. "There’s no evidence that happened in this case, however."
No memorial is planned for the pedestal, but photographers and social media users everywhere will undoubtedly mourn its passing.
The death of The Rock has apparently inspired the hashtag #ripthatpnwrock on the social media website Instagram.