Frequently Asked Questions

Can I visit Farallon National Wildlife Refuge? 
The refuge is closed to the public because of the sensitivity of habitat and to minimize disturbance to the wildlife.  The seabirds and marine mammals live in abundance on the islands because they are free from human disturbance.  The steep, rocky slopes also limit safe access onto the island.  There are whale watching companies that do circle around the islands.  Plug in the words "whale watching farallon" into your search engine and the tour companies will be displayed. 

The refuge can also be explored virtually through a web cam provided by the California Academy of Sciences.  Visitors can view what researchers are looking at, have the opportunity to control the camera when not in use, or access the panoramic feature of a static photo.

I have a boat and would like to see the refuge from my boat.  Are there any restrictions?
Wildlife are protected from disturbance by federal laws.  Boaters must observe California boating regulations, including the speed limit of 5 nautical miles per hour within 1,000 feet of all islands and limiting noise within 1,000 feet of shoreline of all islands.  In addition, between March 15 and August 15 vessel traffic is prohibited within 300 feet (one football field length) of shoreline at specified portions of Southeast and North Farallon Islands.  This includes no boat passing between Saddle Rock and Southeast Farallon Island.  See map (pdf, 660 KB).

Are there volunteer opportunities on the refuge?
Yes, there are.  See our Getting Involved page for more details.