Remote and rugged, the Farallon National Wildlife Refuge protect an incredible bounty of avian and mammalian wildlife. These rocky islands, located 30 miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge in California, can be described through numerous superlatives. They contain the largest seabird nesting colony south of Alaska; they hold the largest colony of western gulls in the world; and they support half the world's population of Ashy storm-petrels.
Created in 1909 by President Theodore Roosevelt, the Farallon National Wildlife Refuge was established to protect seabirds and marine mammals. The Refuge is comprised of four groups of small islands: Southeast Farallon, North Farallons, Middle Farallon, and Noonday Rock. South Farallon Islands is the largest island at 70 acres and was added to the refuge in 1969. Congress designated all these islands except Southeast Farallon Island as the Farallon Wilderness Area in 1974. The Farallons are also designated as a State Ecological Reserve and a Golden Gate Biosphere Reserve. Southeast Farallon is the only island that supports structures from earlier times, several of which have been maintained or renovated for refuge management purposes.
The public is not allowed on any of the islands because the steep, rocky shoreline and wildlife are very sensitive to disturbance. North Farallons, Middle Farallon, and Noonday Rock are virtually inaccessible even by boat. There are also no docking facilities and island resources are very limited. A web cam on the islands is available through a partnership with the California Academy of Sciences.