What is Oregon’s northern-most ocean treasure? Cape Falcon Marine Reserve

Of our five Marine Reserves, Cape Falcon is our most northern and one of our most visually stunning.


The rocky coast of Cape Falcon Marine Reserve

Take Action

What is Cape Falcon Marine Reserve?

Were you to hike at Oswald West State Park in northern Oregon, many of the routes you could take would treat you to stunning views of rocky coastline and crashing waves of the Pacific. The area you’d be looking at is Cape Falcon Marine Reserve, one of the five Marine Reserves in Oregon and one of the most beautiful.

In the 2010’s, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife established a Marine Reserve here and continue to manage, research and monitor it today. Cape Falcon contains a “no take” area where any sort of consumptive action is prohibited and two Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s) where fishing is allowed. In total, the areas encompass just over 20 square miles of ocean that conceal sprawling sandy bottoms that stretch for miles in every direction.

What wildlife can we find in the waters of Cape Falcon?

These sandy areas are home to all sorts of incredible ocean life and its common to find critters like leather sea stars, rock scallops, purple sea urchins, Dungeness crab, and a variety of snails. In the MPA’s, where fishing is permitted and there are more rocky sections, fishermen have the opportunity to catch greenlings, buffalo sculpins, and a variety of rockfish.

What can we do to improve this underwater utopia?

Oregon’s Marine Reserves Program was created ten years ago to conserve and protect ocean life, provide space for scientific research and exploration, and to educate Oregonian’s about the wonders of coastal ecosystems.

As our northern-most Reserve, Cape Falcon has achieved these goals, and in many ways surpassed them. It’s evident then, that we must do all we can to support this Reserve and the Program more broadly. The good news is there is a bill in our legislature that would do just that.

House Bill 2903, commonly called the “Marine Reserves Bill”, would allocate an additional $800,000 in funding to support our Reserves. The funding will create more opportunities at the Department of Fish and Wildlife to monitor and research these areas and an ever-changing ocean environment, as well as engage Oregonians in the ecosystems found along our craggy coastline.

This bill should be seen as an investment in our oceans and in inspiring places like Cape Falcon. Passing HB2903 will create a more sustainable future for our marine environments and should be done as soon as possible.



Ian Giancarlo

Protect Our Oceans Campaign, Advocate, Environment America Research & Policy Center

Ian works to protect our oceans and marine ecosystems. Ian lives in Denver, where he enjoys triathlons, hiking, and local breweries in his free time.

Find Out More