Sunset Bay Rocky Shore

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About the Sunset Bay Rocky Shore Area

1.0 miles of intertidal habitat located about 2 miles north of the tip of Cape Arago, approximately 12 miles southwest of Coos Bay, in Coos County, Oregon.
Research ReserveResearch Reserve. Sunset Bay is part of the Cape Arago Headland Research Reserve. Sunset Bay is part of area “A” which is “all rocky areas, tide pools, and sand beaches situated between extreme high tide and extreme low tide lying between a line projected due west from the Cape Arago lighthouse and the southern tip of Norton Gulch.”
Key Resources
Rich, high-use intertidal habitat that is very accessible to the public. Harbor seals use rocks in the area to haul out and occasionally rest on the beach. For info on responsible marine wildlife viewing see this PDF.
  What can you do here?
Recreational use of the park area is very high. The intertidal area receives high use for outdoor educational activities, tidepool exploration, and general exploration of the ocean shore. ODFW regulations for Sunset Bay (as part of Cape Arago headland, area C) as a Research Reserve mean it is closed to the take of all shellfish and marine invertebrates except by means of scientific take permits for scientific or educational purposes.

Educational Opportunities
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has a seasonal rocky shore interpretive ranger who spends part of their time at the Sunset Bay tidepools and conducts rocky shore interpretive programs at the adjacent Sunset Bay campground in the peak season. Contact Sunset Bay State Park for information about the rocky shore interpretive programs offered in this area (541-888-4902).

Getting to the Rocky shore at Sunset Bay

The north-end tidepools are easily reached at low tide with a short, level walk on sand from the parking lot on the north side of Sunset Bay. The south end of Sunset Bay proper is reached by walking south on the beach (park in the lower parking lot) and then over rocks and promontory at low tide. However, it is only possible to get around the corner at extreme low tides. Access to the Norton Gulch area is by way of a moderate trail (semi-improved dirt with a bridge over the creek) off the Cape Arago Highway (south of the Sunset Bay parking area). The trail is marked and there is a small-unpaved turnout for about 1-2 cars.

Public Access Option 1 for Sunset Bay Rocky Shore
Public Access Option 2 for Sunset Bay Rocky Shore
Public Access Option 3 for Sunset Bay Rocky Shore

Who Owns this Site?
Submerged and submersible (intertidal) lands: Division of State Lands; beach and upland area: Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation (Sunset Bay State Park). Some of the upland area is under private and/or tribal ownership.
  Who Manages this Site?
The intertidal area is managed as an intertidal research reserve area by the ODFW; Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) manage the upland and beaches as Sunset Bay State Park. Also, the entire Cape Arago headland area is designated as an Intertidal Marine Protected Area for the purposes of public education. This designation does not hold any additional regulatory restrictions above and beyond that of the current status as a Research Reserve. Oregon Parks and Recreation Department manages the ocean shore recreation area.

Data for the Sunset Bay Rocky Shore
[4 Records Listed]

Sunset Bay Rocky Shore GIS Data
Data Layer

[4 Records Listed]

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

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