Rules and Regulations

ARTICLE Intro Refuge sign by RL 512x219

Due to their remoteness, the offshore rocks, reefs and islands of this refuge are sanctuary to numerous sensitive species. Some use the rocks as breeding grounds and nurseries; others simply find respite in the absence of disturbance, human or otherwise. It is incumbent on all of us to keep this characteristic of the refuge intact.


Much of Oregon Islands NWR is designated as National Wilderness and closed to public use. All coastal rocks and islands are off-limits, and all watercraft should stay at least 500 feet away. 

Click here to download our Boating Regulations poster. (PDF 85 KB)

Click here to download our Aircraft Regulations poster. (PDF 391 KB)

For a list of areas within Oregon Islands NWR featuring public access, and to learn more about places where one can view the islands, go to our Visitor Activities page.

Use of Drones Illegal on Refuges

Areas considered ecologically sensitive—including lands within the National Wildlife Refuge System, host to threatened or even endangered species—can be disproportionately affected by drone flights. Thus it is illegal to operate unmanned aircraft on Refuge lands. In addition, if a drone operator stands beyond Refuge boundaries and flies the vehicle over the Refuge, fines can be levied if the drone is observed disturbing wildlife, e.g. flushing nesting birds from an offshore island or causing resting pinnipeds to flee for the water.

​For more information on drone use over refuges, consult the Service's UAS Resource Guide.

Get a detailed guide to responsible drone use here.