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Tillamook Coast Life Blog

Cape Falcon Marine Reserve

Under the waves, the seafloor is largely sand: an ideal habitat for crabs and other animals that like soft bottom habitats.

In the shallower waters, there are small isolated patches of rock where diverse marine life such as black rockfish, lingcod, kelp greenling, and buffalo sculpins can be found.

The shoreline has rocky intertidal habitats where mussels and sea anemones thrive.

Cape Falcon Marine Reserve is brimming with marine life.
Photo by Dan Haag

This is a vast portrait of biodiversity and visitors have the opportunity to help build an understanding of what is living on the coastal edge.

Established in 2016, The Cape Falcon Marine Reserve (CFMR) is located along the northern tip of the Tillamook Coast, just offshore from popular Oswald West State Park.

Hiking trails atop the Cape provide views out over the full expanse of the reserve. Visitors can enjoy beach walking, surfing, and birding from popular Short Sand Beach.

Friends of Cape Falcon Marine Reserve offers a variety of educational opportunities to get to know the reserve such as boat tours.

“This is an amazing area full of life, energy and excitement,” said Chrissy Smith, outreach coordinator for the reserve. “We want folks to enjoy and appreciate it.”

To help in that effort, CFMR partners with a wide variety of local and regional organizations, including Lower Nehalem Community Trust, Lower Nehalem Watershed Council, Haystack Rock Awareness Program, and Surfrider Foundation. They work together to create numerous educational programs such as hikes, boat tours, and workshops. They also recruit volunteers for annual counts of pelicans and cormorants during the summer months.

This past summer Friends of Cape Falcon Marine Reserve partnered with other local groups to host a BioBlitz on Neahkahnie Beach.
Photo by Dan Haag

This past summer, CFMR held a BioBlitz on Neahkahnie Beach in Manzanita. There, attendees got a close up look at some of the diversity that lives along the beach and in tide pools and help create an inventory.

The overall push is to help visitors to CFMR realize that its well-being depends largely on them. Practicing “leave no trace” visitation keeps the area pristine for all to enjoy.

There are four other marine reserves along the Oregon Coast, with Cape Falcon being the northernmost location. Cascade Head, Otter Rock, Cape Perpetua and Redfish Rocks Marine Reserves stretch to the south.

If you’d like to see what’s happening in CFMR and learn about how you can help their mission, visit them at here.

A Picture of Dan Haag
Dan Haag
Born and raised in the great white north of Minnesota, Dan Haag felt the pull of the north Oregon Coast in the early 90s. Finding that rain never needed to be shoveled, he married an Oregon girl and settled in Manzanita, where he works as director of the Manzanita Visitors Center. He is also a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a variety of state and national publications. He spends his free time wandering the area’s many trails, supporting the Oregon wine and beer industry, perusing coastal bookstores, and chasing his black Labrador, Lilo, along the beach.