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Is that dead whale you smell? The state is letting a carcass turn to crab food on the beach

Washington State Parks rangers will be leaving this dead whale to decay on the beach near Twin Harbors State Park south of Westport after it washed ashore Tuesday.
Washington State Parks rangers will be leaving this dead whale to decay on the beach near Twin Harbors State Park south of Westport after it washed ashore Tuesday. Courtesy

Sorry, guys, put away the dynamite. That’s not how we handle these sorts of things in Washington.

Washington State Parks rangers will be leaving a dead gray whale to decay on the beach near Twin Harbors State Park after it washed ashore Tuesday.

Instead of blowing it up, like Oregonians tried back in the 1970s.

“Visitors can expect strong, unpleasant smells as the carcass rots over the summer months,” the State Parks statement stated, in a wild understatement.

The 30-foot-long juvenile female, believed to be 1 to 2 years old, was healthy when it died of a traumatic injury, the statement said.

The whale’s carcass, south of Westport in Grays Harbor County, is in the Washington state Seashore Conservation Area, which covers much of the state’s western coastline.

Experts advised State Parks officials to leave the body to decompose naturally so it could serve as a food source for other wildlife.

The whale came to rest in the intertidal area, where crabs can feed on it at high tide and birds can do so during low tide.

Coyotes — a not-so-natural predator —can also feed off the carcass at dusk.

State Parks officials advise people not to take parts of the rotting whale — it’s a federal offense.

Kenny Ocker: 253-597-8627, @KennyOcker

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