Cascade Head Marine Reserve and Protected Area


Cascade Head

Cascade Head photo by Ben Nieves.                   

Just the Facts!

Location: The Cascade Head Marine Reserve is located just north of Lincoln City, adjoined terrestrially by a world-renowned 7051 hectare UNESCO biospere reserve. The Marine Reserve covers 9.7 square miles of ocean habitat and the three complimentary Marine Protected Areas include another 23.1 square miles.

Access Points: Knight Park at the Salmon River mouth will get you shoreside of the MPA and Cascade Head (The Nature Conservancy trail) to the top of Cascade Head will offer views of the entire reserve.


Management plan is in process - projected completion Spring 2015

Regulations - Harvest restrictions are in effect and have been since January 2014

Cascade Head Brochure (ODFW)

Cascade Head Map (ODFW)

Ecological and Monitoring and Human Dimensions Research

2012-2103 monitoring completed - reports available in 2015

Marine Reserve Boundaries

Habitat and Wildlife

This area contains a variety of prime habitats for marine life, including over 27 important seabird nesting sites along the more than 70 emergent rocks found in this area. Extensive rocky reefs, including a productive portion of the Siletz Reef, provide habitat for a variety of groundfish. California gray whales can be found passing through this area, and Steller sea lions and harbor seal haulouts are found on the rocks and coves. Patches of canopy kelp (bull kelp) additionally provide for a diverse assortment of fish and wildlife to shelter and feed in this area.

Why was Cascade Head to Whale Cove proposed as a marine reserve and protected area?

This area of the North Central Oregon coast, between Cascade Head and Whale Cove, includes many important nesting seabirds sites, some of the most extensive and well-documented rocky reef habitat on the Oregon coast, California sea lion, Steller sea lion in harbor seal haulouts, canopy kelp forest and stretches of nearly inaccessible intertidal platforms.

Ecological Benefits

The coastal and ocean waters of the North Central Oregon coast from Pacific City to Seal Rock south of Newport include biologically diverse, rare and sensitive habitats. Between Cascade Head and Whale Cove, there is extensive rocky reef habitat including Siletz, Nellscott and Boiler Ridge Reef, productive intertidal habitat, canopy forming kelp, important bird areas, and productive offshore habitats, warranting conservation and management, including long-term monitoring.

Cool Stuff!

Check out the preliminary report from Oceana on their seafloor habitat expedition off the Central Oregon Coast to identify important ecological areas

gorgonian corals

Gorgonian corals. Photo credit: Oceana

hydroid zooanthid

Orange zoanthid. Photo credit: Oceana


Nudibranch. Photo credit: Oceana

fish refuge

Fish refuge. Photo credit: Oceana

basketstar and coral

Basketstar and coral. Photo credit. Oceana

Want to check out the Cascade Head from a different perspective - on two wheels?

Special Features in the Vicinity of the Cascade Head Marine Reserve


  • There are 27 seabird colony sites within the vicinity of the Cascade Head Marine Reserve, including pelagic cormorant, Brandt's cormorant, common murre, pigon guillemot, western/glaucous-winged gulls, black oystercatcher, and tufted puffin. There are 10 nesting seabird sites from Fogarty Creek to Whale Cove. The US Fish and Wildlife Service recognizes Cliff Creek Cove, "Unnamed Rock" and Two Arches Rock at Cascade Head as especially significant, sensitive and vulnerable sites.
  • There are large mammal haulouts at Hearts Cove and Sea Lion Cove at Cascade Head used by Stellear sea lions, California sea lions and harbor seals. There are harbor seal/pupping sites at Fogarty Creek and Boiler Bay.
Pigeon guillemot
pelagic cormorant
sea lion

The Oregon Marine Reserves Partnership is a fiscally sponsored project of The Ocean Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization.