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Castle Rock
National Wildlife Refuge

Half a mile off shore of Crescent City
Del Norte County, CA   
E-mail: Eric_T_Nelson@fws.gov
Phone Number: 707-733-5406
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
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Castle Rock National Wildlife Refuge

Castle Rock Refuge is half a mile offshore from Crescent City in northern California. This coastal rock covers approximately 14 acres, and rises steeply 335 feet above sea level. The refuge provides an important sanctuary for Aleutian Canada geese and nesting seabirds.

It is, in fact, known as the second largest nesting seabird colony south of Alaska (after the Farallon Islands). The estimated number of seabirds using Castle Rock has been as high as 150,000. It also has the largest breeding population of common murres in California; the latest estimate for common murres was 98,000 in 1986.

Over 21,000 Aleutian Canada geese roost on the island, flying off at dawn to feed in adjacent agricultural lands, returning in the evening. This growing population appears to be impacting the habitat suitability for seabird nesting.

Castle Rock Refuge also serves as a resting place for four species of pinnipeds; harbor seals, northern elephant seals, California sea lions, and Stellar's sea lions.

Getting There . . .
The refuge is closed to the public. You can view it from North Pebble Beach Drive in Crescent City.

Get Google map and directions to this refuge/WMD from a specified address:

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These driving directions are provided as a general guide only. No representation is made or warranty given as to their content, road conditions or route usability or expeditiousness. User assumes all risk of use.

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Castle Rock was privately owned until 1979. During the mid- and late-1970s, speculators were contemplating guano mining, rock quarrying, and construction of a tourist attraction on the island. In 1979, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) purchased Castle Rock. The Fish and Wildlife Service bought the island from TNC for approximately $45,000.

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    Recreation and Education Opportunities
Wildlife Observation
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Management Activities
Castle Rock Refuge resource values are maintained by natural processes.

The refuge is monitored to ensure that these values have not been compromised. Nesting seabird and Aleutian Canada goose activity is closely monitored on a yearly basis.