Located in the ocean between Manzanita and Cannon Beach, Oregon, the Cape Falcon Marine Reserve site is a 20 square mile area dedicated to conservation and scientific research. Just like parks and protected natural areas on land, there are multiple benefits of protected areas in the ocean. They conserve ocean wildlife and biodiversity. Marine Reserves sites also serve as living laboratories, where we can learn about marine reserve protections and Oregon’s ocean environment to help us maintain our seas for future generations.
The marine reserve is managed by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Beneath the Surface:
At Cape Falcon the seafloor is dominated by sand providing ideal habitat for crabs and other animals that like soft bottom habitats. In shallower waters, the reserve has small isolated patches of rock where we find black rockfish, lingcod, kelp greenling, and buffalo sculpins. Along the shore, you’ll find rocky intertidal habitats to the north and south of Short Sand Beach where you can spot mussels and sea anemones attached to the rocks.
The marine reserve is located just offshore from the popular Oswald West State Park. Hiking trails atop the Cape provide views out over the reserve. Visitors enjoy beach walking, surfing and viewing seabirds and other wildlife from Short Sand Beach. Nearby towns and ports include Astoria, Warrenton, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, and Garibaldi.
The ODFW Marine Reserves Program uses a variety of research tools to monitor marine reserves. We tailor which tools we use at the Cape Falcon site based on the site’s unique characteristics. The reserve’s size, habitats, and depths – as well as what fishing activities used to take place here – all play into determining which tools we use.
Cape Falcon Marine Reserve relies on your help to keep this special place pristine for generations to come. Want to get involved or sign up for our newsletter? Visit us at our website for all the details on how you can help!