Library image #2681
: Aerial view looking south toward unnamed rocks at Tillamook Head in the lower left, and Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach in the distance.
The United States Congress designated the Oregon Islands Wilderness (map
) in 1970 and it now has a total of 372 acres
All of this wilderness is located in Oregon
and is managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service.
A string of 1,854 wave-washed rocks and islands mirror almost the entire length of the Oregon coast from Tillamook Head to the California border. These precious chunks of unsurveyed lands above the line of mean high water, protected as the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, total only approximately 372 acres (after all additions), but those relatively few acres provide a nesting habitat for an estimated 1.2 million seabirds, more than nest along the coastlines of California and Washington combined. Beginning in April, black-and-white common murres throng the islands. Summer also brings tufted puffins, rhinoceros and Cassin's auklets, pigeon guillemots, Leach's storm-petrels, black oystercatchers, western gulls, and other species, which nest on the islands and feed in the Pacific Ocean. These rocky islands and reefs also serve as haul-outs for seals and sea lions including harbor seals, northern elephant seals, California sea lions, and the Steller sea lion, which haul themselves up on to rocks to give birth, to rest, and to molt. The Rogue and Orford Reef units of this refuge and wilderness constitute the largest breeding and pupping sites for Steller sea lions in U.S. waters south of Alaska.
All of the island acreage has been designated Wilderness, with the exception of 1-acre Tillamook Rock and Lighthouse, and the refuge and wilderness are closed to public entry at all times. Waters within 500 feet of the refuge islands are closed to all watercraft from May 1 through September 15.