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Viewing category: Cape Meares NWR
May 15, 2012
Cape Meares Receives High Marks from Visitors
An overwhelming percentage of visitors to Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge and State Scenic Viewpoint (Cape Meares) in 2010 and 2011 were favorably impressed with its recreational opportunities and services according to a peer-reviewed government survey released today. Some 90 percent of respondents gave consistent high marks to all facets of their outdoor experience.

The survey was commissioned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and designed, conducted, and analyzed by researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey. It evaluated responses from 205 visitors surveyed at Cape Meares between July 2010 and November 2011. Cape Meares was one of 53 refuges surveyed across the nation.

Cape Meares Refuge was established in 1938 as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. Cape Meares Refuge has been managed in cooperation with Oregon State Parks since its establishment and is defined by vertical coastal cliffs that support nesting seabirds, rocky outcroppings, and rolling headlands with old-growth forest dominated by Sitka spruce and western hemlock. Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint, managed by Oregon State Parks, is adjacent to the Refuge and harbors the famous Octopus Tree and the Cape Meares Lighthouse.

The Visitor Satisfaction Survey was conducted at Cape Meares and the results reflect the close partnership between both agencies. Of the surveyed visitors 75% had been to Cape Meares once in the last 12 months. The other 25% had visited multiple times averaging 12 times during the year. Half of the visitors first learned about Cape Meares from signs on U.S. Highway 101, another 34% from friends or relatives and the remainder from brochures or websites. An overwhelming majority of visitors (88%) lived more than 50 miles from Cape Meares.

Some survey participants volunteered enthusiastic comments, “Cape Meares is unique because of the opportunity to see migrating gray whales in the spring and winter; to learn about the history of the lighthouse; to see what the largest Sitka spruce in the state looks like; to wonder about the mystery of the Octopus Tree; to experience the rocky Oregon coast on a clear day; and, maybe to catch sight of a Peregrine falcon.�

Of survey participants,
• 96 percent reported satisfaction with recreational activities and opportunities;
• 95 percent reported satisfaction with information and education about the park and the refuge;
• 96 percent reported satisfaction with services provided by state park or refuge employees or volunteers; and
• 90 percent reported satisfaction with the conservation of wildlife and their habitat at Cape Meares.

The most popular outdoor activities that visitors engaged in at Cape Meares were whale watching, photography, bird watching and hiking. Many visitors also spent time touring the Cape Meares lighthouse and gift shop.

Staff at Cape Meares will use survey results to help guide transportation, facilities and services planning. USGS social scientist Natalie Sexton was the lead researcher on the report. The full survey is available at http://pubs.usgs.gov/ds/685/.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 3:48 PM
March 4, 2008
New State Champion Sitka Spruce named at Cape Meares NWR
A new Oregon state champion Sitka spruce has been designated and it's on public land in Tillamook County. The giant Sitka Spruce, the largest known representative of its kind in the state, is 144 feet high and is located within Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge). The Cape Meares champion spruce was designated after winter storms toppled the The Klootchy Creek Spruce in December. The Klootchy Creek Spruce held the post of national champion Sitka Spruce for 34 years and was the first tree to be designated an Oregon State Heritage Tree. Knowing that the Klootchy Creek Spruce was in decline as a result of a huge cavity exposed from a previous storm, two arborists, Brian French and Will Koomjian, who lead expeditions to climb and measure the largest trees of each species, started querying tree watchers about other large Sitka Spruce trees in the Northwest. French and Koomjian operate under the name Ascending the Giants and their stated goal for these climbs are to aid in preservation efforts for champion trees and to raise awareness of the importance of trees and the sensitive ecosystems that exist in and around them.

While designation as a state champion tree does not come with legal protection, the Cape Meares Spruce is already protected from harvest due to its location within the federally protected Refuge. The Refuge itself was established in 1938 to protect a remnant patch of coastal old growth forest and the surrounding rocky cliff habitat used by seabirds as breeding habitat. In fact all of Cape Meares Refuge, with the exception of Oregon Coast Trail, was further designated a Research Natural Area (RNA) in 1987, which requires that natural processes are allowed to continue without management interference from humans. Activities on RNAs are limited to research, study, observation, monitoring, and educational activities that are non-destructive, non-manipulative, and maintain unmodified conditions. RNA designation for Cape Meares Refuge was awarded to showcase the Sitka spruce forest and coastal shrublands of the area and was further considered an important site in the RNA program as it represents the most northerly stand of old growth Sitka spruce remaining along the Oregon coast.

According to French, the massive sitka spruce shows all the hallmarks of coastal life: vigorous growth and numerous breakouts. Like the Klootchy Creek tree the Cape Meares Spruce had its top half blown out in a storm so the tree has a stout appearance. French postulates that the tree is probably in the age range of 750 to 800 years old and is in rough condition with decay in its core. Visitors can see the Cape Meares champion Sitka spruce by hiking a short trail that branches off (to the south) from the Oregon Coast Trail which meanders through the heart of the old-growth forest on the Refuge and adjacent Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint forestland. Cape Meares is located along the Three Capes Scenic Route approximately ten miles west of the town of Tillamook. When approaching Tillamook on US Highway 101, follow signs for the Three Capes Scenic Route and the town of Oceanside. Turn west into a small graveled parking lot to access the trailhead at the entrance to Cape Meares.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 4:52 PM
May 2, 2007
Cape Meares re-paving project is complete
The parking lot paving project at Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge, Lighthouse and State Scenic Viewpoint is very nearly complete, and the popular site has reopened to the public. In addition to a newly paved surface, the renovated parking lot has 12 more vehicle parking spaces, three designated RV parking spaces, new curbing, and new pavement markings, and the sidewalks and trails surrounding the parking lot have also been repaved. The park opened up for public use on Tuesday morning May 1st, with only minor asphalt edge remediation and the thermoplastic work remaining to be completed. The remaining work should not take more than one day and can be done with visitors in the park. This project, which began in September 2006, was funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Western Federal Lands Highway Division administered the contract.

Cape Meares Lighthouse and State Scenic Viewpoint is sandwiched between the two parcels of Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge protects rare old growth Sitka spruce and hemlock forest, and seabirds and peregrine falcons nest on the vertical seacliffs of this Refuge. The Park and Lighthouse are managed by Oregon State Parks, and the Friends of Cape Meares Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge welcome visitors and operate the gift shop. With nearly half a million visitors each year, the parking lot, viewing decks, and trails at this spectacular location have been in need of upgrades to accommodate the ever expanding visitation. Over the past few years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided funding to construct two high-quality viewing decks and to design and install interpretive panels on the decks and trails. The viewing decks allow visitors a spectacular view of Three Arch Rocks and Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuges out in the Pacific, as well as migrating gray whales, seabirds, and sea lions. The interpretive panels help visitors understand what they are seeing. The parking lot upgrade is the final component of the improvement project for this well loved Oregon coast gem.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 12:42 PM
April 17, 2007
Cape Meares Closed for Paving
Project Manager for Cisneros Construction, Dwight Gill, announced today that the parking lot at Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint will be paved the week of April 22, 2007. During this final phase of parking lot recontruction, the area will closed to the general public from Tuesday, April 24 through Tuesday May 1, 2007.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 4:31 PM
September 25, 2006
Cape Meares Parking Area to be Improved
Beginning the week of September 18, the parking lot at Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge, Lighthouse and State Scenic Viewpoint will be undergoing construction for approximately two months. With the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service providing the funding and the Western Federal Lands Highway Division administering the contract, the parking lot at this ever-popular attraction will emerge with 12 more vehicle parking spaces, three designated RV parking spaces, new curbing, more level sidewalks, and a newly paved surface. The parking lot will remain open during construction but will have limited capacity depending on the phase of construction.

Cape Meares Lighthouse and State Scenic Viewpoint is sandwiched between the two parcels of Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge protects rare old growth Sitka spruce and hemlock forest, and seabirds and peregrine falcons nest on the vertical seacliffs of this Refuge. The Park and Lighthouse are managed by Oregon State Parks, and the Friends of Cape Meares Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge welcome visitors and operate the gift shop. With nearly half a million visitors each year, the parking lot, viewing decks, and trails at this spectacular location have been in need of upgrades to accommodate the ever expanding visitation. Over the past few years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided funding to construct two high-quality viewing decks and to design and install interpretive panels on the decks and trails. The viewing decks allow visitors a spectacular view of Three Arch Rocks and Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuges out in the Pacific, as well as migrating gray whales, seabirds, and sea lions. The interpretive panels help visitors understand what they are seeing. The parking lot upgrade is the final component of the improvement project for this well loved Oregon coast gem.
Posted by the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Staff at 4:43 PM
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