Cape Perpetua

What is the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve?

Thanks to our friends at the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve Collaborative, we can learn about the many wonderful, unique features of the state’s largest protected area, the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve, between Florence and Yachats on Oregon’s central coast.

Our rocky shores at Overleaf Lodge & Spa are a part of this biologically diverse environment, full of intertidal habitats, opportunities to view wildlife and so much more. The marine reserve spans 14.3 square miles and includes a Seabird Protection Area and two Marine Protected Areas.

The Cape Perpetua Scenic Area is the stunning landscape adjacent to the marine reserve, providing hiking opportunities within an old growth forest, many viewpoints of the gorgeous, dramatic coastline, plus tide pool areas and beach access for visitors to get close to the water. Some highlights include:

  • Devil’s Churn: This narrow inlet with viewpoints has seriously dramatic wave action.
  • Heceta Head Lighthouse: A historic landmark, with trails and beach access.
  • Thor’s Well and Cook’s Chasm: More wave action visible from roadside parking as well as via the Captain Cook Trail to get closer.
  • Cape Perpetua headland: This outstanding viewpoint, high up, displays the Marine Reserve beautifully.

Beneath the water within the reserve, there’s a lot going on, too, with both sand and gravel habitats, plus a deep and isolated rocky reef that’s home to many invertebrates, such as sea stars, anemones and sea cucumbers, and many groundfish, such as rockfish and lingcod. All species are protected within the reserve. However, some limited fishing for groundfish is allowed in the Marine Protected Areas, according to the Oregon Marine Reserves.

Whale watching is another favorite past time within the reserve, most often in the winter and spring as the whales migrate first south to their breeding grounds off the coast of Mexico and then north, when they return to Alaska for summer feeding.

For bird watchers, the Cape Perpetua area also has the highest concentration of marbled murrelets, a threatened seabird that nests in the old growth forest and forages in the coastal waters. Each July a survey of marbled murrelets is conducted within the Seabird Protection Area. This is just one of the ways the research of the Collaborative and its partners is integral to monitoring the health of the preserve and how the habitats are changing over time.

Overleaf Lodge & Spa donates monetarily to the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve Collaborative. We love our environment and support the protection of this critical habitat. We also appreciate the generosity of our guests, who contribute voluntarily $1 for each night of their stay to the Collaborative. No doubt, when you get out there to explore this incredible environment, you will know your donation is important and appreciated!

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