Rules and Regulations

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Due to its remoteness, Three Arch Rocks NWR is 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.


Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge is designated as National Wilderness and is closed to public entry year-round. Waters within 500 feet of the refuge are closed to all watercraft from May 1st through September 15th.


Three Arch Rocks NWR is best viewed from the mainland at Cape Meares and in the town of Oceanside. To learn more about boating and aircraft regulations, check out the posters below.

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

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

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 property without special permits. 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.