Habitat

PROMO  intro Sitkaspruce by PP 512x219


Cape Meares NWR was established on August 19, 1938 with a land transfer from the U.S. Coast Guard to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The refuge is located on a small coastal headland just south of Tillamook Bay in Tillamook County, encompassing 138 acres. It’s bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean; on the north and east by private forested land; and on the south by Cape Meares State Park.

Surveys of large vertebrate species revealed the presence of a diversity of wildlife species, including the threatened Northern Spotted Owl, Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon and Marbled Murrelet. The vertical sea cliffs provide nesting habitat for Pelagic and Brandt’s Cormorants, Common Murres, Tufted Puffins, Pigeon Guillemots, Western Gulls and Black Oystercatchers. Black Bears, Black-tailed Deer, and Roosevelt Elk are present, if uncommon. 

Within the old-growth forest are a plethora of smaller vertebrates, including at least eleven species of rodent, two species of moles and four of shrews. Seven species of salamander and two of frogs find ideal habitat in the numerous bogs and marshes, or under rotted, windfallen trees. Plant species in the understory include salal, salmonberry, sword fern, deer fern, evergreen huckleberry and oxalis.

All of Cape Meares Refuge, with the exception of Oregon Coast Trail, was designated a Research Natural Area (RNA) in 1987, which stipulates 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. Cape Meares Refuge was awarded this designation in large part for its pristine forest and coastal shrublands, representing the most northerly stand of old-growth Sitka Spruce remaining along the Oregon coast.