North Cove Cape Arago & Simpson Reef Rocky Shore



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About the North Cove Cape Arago & Simpson Reef Rocky Shore Area

Description
0.8 miles of cliffs, rocky intertidal, and subtidal reef/kelp beds, and offshore rocks in and near the north cove of Cape Arago, approximately 12 miles south of Coos Bay, in Coos County, Oregon. 0.8 miles of cliffs, rocky intertidal, and subtidal reef/kelp beds, and offshore rocks in and near the north cove of Cape Arago, approximately 12 miles south of Coos Bay, in Coos County, Oregon.
  Designation
Research ReserveResearch Reserve. Simpson Reef/North Cove Cape Arago is part of the Cape Arago Headland Research Reserve. Simpson Reef/North Cove is part of Area “C” which is “all rocky areas, tide pools, and sand beaches situated between extreme high tide and extreme low tide lying between Simpson Reef overlook and a point ¾ of a mile south of Cape Arago State Park."
     
Key Resources
Large seal and sea-lion haulouts and pupping areas (Steller sea lion, harbor seal, California sea lion, elephant seal); largest and among the richest rocky intertidal habitats in the state; kelp beds with both Nereocystis and Macrocystis (giant kelp, the largest such bed in the state); rich subtidal reef habitat; three small seabird colony sites; use by brown pelican (threatened species), gray whale feeding area.
  What can you do here?
During good weather there is a relatively high level of use including boat fishing, sport fishing from shore, recreational SCUBA diving, surfing, nature watching (marine mammals and birds), tidepooling, educational activities, and scientific research. ODFW regulations for the North Cove (as part of Cape Arago headland, area C) as a Research Reserve mean it is closed to the collection of all shellfish and marine invertebrates except by means of scientific take permits. Collection of intertidal shellfish and invertebrates is limited by the areas status as a research reserve. Check current ODFW regulations for more details. For info on responsible marine wildlife viewing see this PDF.

Educational Opportunities
Many interpretive signs are in place at the Simpson Reef overlook. Also, OPRD has a seasonal rocky shore interpretive ranger who provides tidepool walks and campground programs that focus on marine organisms and habitats. There are three, pay-per-use ($0.50) viewing scopes at Simpson’s Reef overlook to observe the abundant marine mammal/bird life in the area.

Getting to the Rocky shore at North Cove Cape Arago & Simpson Reef

There is a trail from Cape Arago State Park to the cove beach, with low tide foot access through the tidepools/over the sand spit to Shell Island; visual access from scenic overlook on Cape Arago Highway; boat access from launch at Sunset Bay in good weather and from the mouth of Coos Bay. The official trail from Cape Arago State Park starts from the southern end of the parking area (by the cluster board/park signage). The trail splits, at which point a right turn goes towards the beach. The trail soon forks a second time into three paths at signage indicating the protected status and vulnerability of marine mammals. Turning left brings you to picnic tables, going straight affords visual access by way of a fenced overlook. The official path to the beach/rocky area is reached by turning right at the three-way fork, where the paved path leads down a short ways to shore level. This path is closed by OPRD from March 1st- June 15th to protect marine mammals during pupping and rearing season. Visual access is afforded from the Simpson Reef overlook off the Cape Arago Highway.

Public Access Option 1 for North Cove Cape Arago & Simpson Reef Rocky Shore

Who Owns this Site?
Submerged and submersible (intertidal) lands: Division of State Lands; rocks above Mean High Water (Shell Island, Simpson Reef, other smaller rocks) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; beach and adjacent uplands: Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.
  Who Manages this Site?
The upland is managed as Cape Arago State Park; the intertidal area is managed by ODFW as a research reserve; rocks and reefs in the cove are managed as part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge; the only official access trail to North Cove is closed by State Parks from March 1 to June 15th to protect marine mammals pupping and rearing from human disturbance. Oregon Parks and Recreation Department manages the ocean shore recreation area.


Data for the North Cove Cape Arago & Simpson Reef Rocky Shore
[5 Records Listed]

North Cove Cape Arago & Simpson Reef Rocky Shore GIS Data
Data Layer
Source
Scale
Year
Download
OCMP
10,000
1972
USGS
24,000
1994
USGS
24,000
1992
ODFW
100,000
2008
ODOT
6,000
1967

[5 Records Listed]


Information compiled by Laurel Hillmann, NOAA Coastal Management Fellow, OPRD
 

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