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Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge
IUCN Category IV (Habitat/Species Management Area)

Cape Meares as seen from nearby beach
Location Tillamook County, Oregon
Nearest city Cape Meares
Coordinates 43°6′26″N 124°26′45″W / 43.10722°N 124.44583°W / 43.10722; -124.44583Coordinates: 43°6′26″N 124°26′45″W / 43.10722°N 124.44583°W / 43.10722; -124.44583
Governing body United States Fish and Wildlife Service
View of Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge

Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge is a U.S. National Wildlife Refuge on Oregon's coast. It is one of six National Wildlife Refuges comprising the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex and protects one of the last remaining coastal old growth forests.[1]

This Oregon refuge set on Cape Meares has provided protection since 1938 for Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock, some more than 200 feet (61 m) tall and hundreds of years old. The conditions are ideal habitat for several threatened bird species, including Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons—the latter once at the brink of extinction. A pair of Peregrines has resided here since 1987. The refuge also hosts nesting Common Murres.

The Oregon Coast Trail passes through the center of this headland refuge where interpretive displays describe its many inhabitants. It is possible to see migrating Gray Whales, three types of Scoter, Western Grebe, and Common Loons. A wildlife viewing deck provides a seasonal view into the aerie of a falcon pair.

Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge and Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge are easily seen from the cape. It is the only viewpoint in the United States where three refuges can be seen at the same time.[2] Also, Cape Meares Light, and an Oregon state park are adjacent.

Visitor Opportunities

The refuge is home to the giant sitka spruce known as the Cape Meares Giant. After a December 2007 wind storm killed the Klootchy Creek giant spruce, the largest tree in Oregon and a popular tourist destination on US route 26[3], the US Fish and Wildlife Service granted a special use permit to climb and measure the tree to Portland, Oregon based group Ascending the Giants. Based on their measurements, the USFWS declared the tree the largest known sitka spruce in the state of Oregon in a February, 2008 press release.[4]

Hiking enthusiasts can enjoy several trails that wind through the headland and old-growth forest. The popular Oregon Coast Trail runs through the center of the refuge. Interpretive panels along the headland trail offer information about the refuge and its wild inhabitants. Many of the trails are located adjacent to the refuge within Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint.

See also




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