Designated in 1907 as the first National Wildlife Refuge west of the Mississippi River, Three Arch Rocks Refuge and Wilderness lies half a mile offshore of the community of Oceanside. One of the Oregon coast's best-known landmarks, the refuge consists of three large and six smaller rocks totaling 15 acres. The refuge is one of the smallest designated Wilderness Areas in the country. The rocks provide habitat for Oregon's largest breeding colony of tufted puffins. These flamboyant birds with their large bright orange beaks and long yellow head tufts are one of the most recognizable seabirds on the Oregon coast. Other seabird species breeding on this refuge include fork-tailed storm-petrel, Brandt's, cormorant and pigeon guillemot. The refuge also supports one of the largest breeding colonies of common murre south of Alaska and is the only pupping site on the north Oregon coast for the Steller sea lion. Three Arch Rocks NWR can best be viewed from the mainland at Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge and from the town of Oceanside. Both Cape Meares and Oceanside are located on the Three Capes Scenic Route west of Tillamook. To prevent disturbance to extremely sensitive seabirds and marine mammals, Three Arch Rocks is closed to public entry year-round, and waters within 500 feet of the refuge are closed to all watercraft from May 1 through September 15.

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