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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 in Category: Cape Meares NWR
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