PROMO Intro Crook Point by RL 512x219

From Tillamook Head to Zwagg Island, spanning 320 miles north to south and encompassing 373 acres of land, Oregon Islands Refuge represents an unparalleled stretch of prime coastal habitat.

The 1,853 landforms within Oregon Islands NWR are divided into three categories: reef, rock or island. Reefs are low-elevation bare rocks that are washed over during storms at high tides. Rocks are similarly bare but taller, with precipitous sides. Islands are the highest such landform, possessing steep sides and grassy tops. Islands are never immersed in water. To qualify as part of the refuge, each landform must be separated from the mainland and remain above the surface of the sea at mean high tide.

The region between these landforms and the mainland constitutes much of the intertidal zone. At low tide, rocky portions of this zone trap the ebbing seawater to create tidepools, windows into a dazzlingly diverse ecosystem. Oregon Islands NWR features several areas at which visitors can view intertidal life up close.

Visit our Tidepools page to learn more about tidepools and their inhabitants. 


With the exception of 1-acre Tillamook Rock and Lighthouse, Whale Cove and other headland units, the remaining 372 acres of Oregon Islands NWR are designated National Wilderness. Wilderness areas enjoy the most stringent restrictions of all federally managed lands in the U.S.: no roads, vehicles or permanent structures allowed. The Wilderness Act of 1964 established the National Wilderness Preservation System, as well as a process for federal agencies to recommend wilderness areas to Congress. There are more than 20 million acres of designated wilderness in the National Wildlife Refuge Systemabout one-fifth of all the designated wilderness areas in the United States. There are 75 wilderness areas on 63 units of the Refuge System in 26 states.

Wilderness, as defined by that 1964 Act, is “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” For more information on wilderness and where to find it, visit the National Wilderness website.