Three Arch Rocks Rocky Shore

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About the Three Arch Rocks Rocky Shore Area

Three large rocks and six smaller ones totaling about 17 acres, ½ to 1 mile off Maxwell Point at the city of Oceanside, Oregon. The Oceanside Beach State Recreation area (which affords visual access) can be reached from US 101, 11 miles west of Tillamook on the Cape Meares Scenic Loop road.
Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). Three Arch Rocks is the oldest NWR west of the Mississippi!
Key Resources
Seabirds including common murres, the largest colony south of Alaska, and the largest Tufted puffin colony on the Oregon coast. Four species of threatened or endangered birds frequently use the rocks and three species of marine mammals, including the threatened Steller sea lion use the rocks for haulout and pupping. Gray whales migrate close to these rocks.
  What can you do here?
High levels of boating activity around the rocks; recreational and charter fishing, SCUBA diving, sea kayaking, and occasional jet-skis. Frequent overflight of civilian and military aircraft and helicopters. Uses of the adjacent ocean shore include sightseeing, photography, beachcombing, recreational fishing (from shore), and surfing. The Oregon State Marine Board has enacted a 500-foot wide boating closure around the main rocks from May 1st to September 15th to protect nesting and rearing of wildlife.

Educational Opportunities
Educational signage is posted at the Oceanside Beach State Recreation Area, Garibaldi Boat Ramp, and Netarts Bay Boat Ramp and varies from site to site. At Oceanside, there is one sign, which discusses the seasonal 500’ closure. It informs visitors (not necessarily boaters as this is not a boat launching area) of the damage that may be inflicted upon seabirds and marine mammals and provides the text of OAR 250-20-309 along with a map showing the location of the closure area. At both the Netarts Bay and Garibaldi boat ramps, the signage is the same. There are two signs, one which states “NO BOATS WITHIN 500 FEET OF THREE ARCH ROCK MAY 1st THROUGH SEPTEMBER 15th” and a new USFWS “Help Protect Marine Wildlife” interpretive sign. This sign depicts nesting seabirds and urges boaters to obey the 500 feet closure.

Getting to the Rocky shore at Three Arch Rocks

The rocks are reached only by boat, chiefly from Tillamook Bay although some boats launch at Netarts Bay in good weather and a few small craft from the beach at Oceanside. It is illegal to physically access any of the rocks in the complex. Visual access to the rocks is available throughout the city of Oceanside and off Cape Meares. Public access to the beach is available both at the Symmons State Scenic Viewpoint at the beginning of Oceanside Beach or at the Oceanside State Recreation Area off Pacific Avenue in the city of Oceanside.

Public Access Option 1 for Three Arch Rocks Rocky Shore

Who Owns this Site?
Submerged rocks and reefs: Division of State Lands; rocks above Mean High Water owned by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service managed as a National Wildlife Refuge and Wilderness area; the water area around the rocks is subject to a 500-foot seasonal boating closure (May 1st-September 15th) implemented by the State Marine Board.
  Who Manages this Site?
The entire rock complex above Mean High Water is managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as a National Wildlife Refuge. The Oregon State Marine Board has enacted a 500-foot wide boating closure around the main rocks from May 1st to September 15th to protect nesting and rearing of wildlife.

Data for the Three Arch Rocks Rocky Shore
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Three Arch Rocks Rocky Shore GIS Data
Data Layer

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Information compiled by Laurel Hillmann, NOAA Coastal Management Fellow, OPRD

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