Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge

Cape Meares NWR, OR

Looking north from Cape Meares, OR

Cape Meares NWR is part of the Oregon Coastal Refuge Complex. The complex includes 6 refuges along the coast. The largest (and most amazing!) refuge is the Oregon Islands NWR. Read the following from their website and give thanks to the foresight of the people working with the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration to protect these places.

“From nearly every viewpoint on the Oregon coast, colossal rocks can be seen jutting out of the Pacific Ocean, stark monoliths amidst a pounding surf. Established on May 6, 1935, as a refuge and breeding ground for seabirds and marine mammals, the scenic and rugged Oregon Islands Refuge includes 1,853 rocks, reefs, and islands and stretches from Tillamook Head near Seaside south to the California border. All of the rocks and islands of the refuge are designated National Wilderness Areas, with the exception of 1-acre Tillamook Rock. Most of Oregon’s estimated 1.2 million nesting seabirds use Oregon Islands Refuge as a place to raise their young, and Oregon’s seals and sea lions use the islands as a place to haul out and rest or to give birth to their pups.”

Excellent protection of an amazing quantity of land. As a native born Oregonian I take great pride in the fact that all 363 miles of the Oregon Coast are public lands. And most of that is automobile-free. I spent many days camping with my family at the Oregon coast as we were growing up. It is in my bones and I go back as often as I can. I love the sandy beaches, the rocky outcrops with tide pools, the lush mossy towering forests and the craggy headlands and capes.

Cape Meares is 8.5 miles west of the town of Tillamook. You need to venture off Hwy 101 to get there and you can make a scenic loop by continuing through the small beachfront community of Oceanside. The views from Cape Meares are stunning. There are thousands of nesting birds, seals and sea lions haul out on the off shore rocks, gray whales cruise by on migration, the Sitka Spruce are legendary and there is even a lighthouse. Peregrine Falcons also nest here and they are an impressive sight to watch as they hunt. They are the fastest animal on the earth and have been recorded going 240 mph in a stoop.

Three Arch Rocks NWR is just south of Cape Meares and was the first NWR west of the Mississippi. President Theodore Roosevelt named it in 1907 after 2 conservationists came to him with stories and photographs of sport hunters using the nesting birds for target practice.

These two refuges were historically home to the largest breeding colonies of seabirds south of Alaska, in particular the Common Murre. In recent years predation by Bald Eagles has drastically reduced the population. The history of this area is fascinating and could easily fill a book. But this is not that, so read more on the internet or library if you care to. But for now here are a few photos of Cape Meares.

Cape Meares, OR

Looking south from Cape Meares, OR, with Three Arch Rocks off-shore

Common Murres flying around their nesting rock, possibly disturbed by a Bald Eagle

Common Murres flying around their nesting rock, possibly disturbed by a Bald Eagle

Common Murres on the water near their nesting rock

Common Murres on the water near their nesting rock

Pelagic Cormorants nesting on cliffs below Cape Meares

Pelagic Cormorants nesting on cliffs below Cape Meares

 

Classic Peregrine Falcon silhouette

Classic Peregrine Falcon silhouette

How to find a Peregrine Falcon- Look up, check ridge lines. There it is.

How to find a Peregrine Falcon- Look up, check ridge lines. There it is.

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This entry was published on October 13, 2015 at 21:56. It’s filed under Birds, Coast, Nature, Pacific Northwest and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge

  1. Robin on said:

    Thanks for doing this series Susan, your travelogs are giving me ideas!

  2. Gorgeous!! I want to go!

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