Coronavirus (COVID-19) Notice
Although most refuge lands and outdoor spaces have remained open for the public to enjoy, we encourage you to:

  • Check local conditions on this website and call ahead for current information
  • Follow current CDC safe practices by maintaining a safe distance between yourself and other groups
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • Most importantly, stay home if you feel sick


  • Willet & Sanderling

    COVID 19 Updates

    The COVID 19 virus has necessitated several temporary changes to refuge operations.

    COVID 19 Updates

  • Rotator-DUNL-Lambert


    Want to discover who those birds are scampering beside the waves? Dungeness is home to many fascinating shorebirds.

    Find Out!

  • Rotator-Vol-Lambert

    Volunteer for the Refuge

    Volunteers provide vital support to the Refuge -- from beach clean up to trailhead docents to re-vegetation projects.

    Come join us!

  • Rotator-Hiker sign-USFWS Mayo

    Take a Hike!

    Thinking about hiking the Spit? Whether taking a short hike to an overlook or trekking out to the lighthouse, be sure to prepare.

    Find tips here...

About "Dungeness"

How Dungeness Got Its Name

George Vancouver

On April 30, 1792, Captain George Vancouver anchored Discovery near the spit. He named it Dungeness Spit after a famous headland (a narrow piece of land that projects from a coastline into the sea) on the south coast of Kent in England. He thought this new area closely resembled that of the English coastline feature. Vancouver was unaware that the area had already been named Punta de Santa Cruz two years earlier by the Spanish explorer Manuel Quimper. Vancouver’s name stuck.

Dungeness Crabbing Industry

Dungeness Crab

Along the West Coast, Dungeness crabs are both a delicacy and an important part of the seafood industry. Annual harvesting along the entire Pacific Coast ranges from 35-55 million pounds, although annual conditions can force lower harvests. The crabs are caught in traps called “pots,” baited with herring, squid, and razor clams, with the average boat tending 250-300 pots in depths ranging from 30-300 feet. Citing its importance to the state’s economy, the Oregon State Legislature named the Dungeness crab as the state crustacean in 2009; only two other states, Maryland (blue crab) and Louisiana (freshwater crayfish), have designated a state shellfish. Seafood Watch has given the crab a sustainable seafood rating of ‘Best Choice.’

Connecting to Nature

Wildlife Photography Tips

RC Promo-Chipmunk-Lambert

Finds tips on how to take your best shot!

Learn more...

About the Complex

Washington Maritime Complex

Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the Washington Maritime Complex.

Read more about the complex
About the NWRS

National Wildlife Refuge System


The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife, and plants.

Learn more about the NWRS