Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge

The Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge is now open to visitors! The "Cannery Hill" unit is open daily from sunrise to sunset.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife have recently created areas to view and admire this beautiful and important area. The official U.S. Fish and Wildlife website says "There are two parking lots on the Cannery Hill Unit, the Pacific View Parking Area has minimal parking so we encourage you to leave your car at the first parking lot and walk the graveled Christensen Road/Trail which is a moderately difficult, 15 minute one way trip that leads you to the Pacific View Trail. Be mindful that you will be sharing the roadway with cars. On the Pacific View Trail you will experience an easy, 10 minute walk on a paved surface with rest benches. The trail ends at an observation deck where you will be treated to a sweeping view of the Pacific Ocean, Haystack Rock, Nestucca Bay, the Coast Range, and the Little Nestucca River".

The refuge habitat includes wooded uplands, riparian wetlands, salt marsh, and open meadows. These habitats provide safe haven for waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors, mammals, anadromous fish and amphibians.

The Neskowin Marsh unit of this refuge is the southernmost coastal sphagnum bog on the Pacific Coast. It is a rare and outstanding ecosystem with exceptional biological value. In addition to bird and mammal species, the sphagnum bog is home to many unusual and beautiful plant species such as the carnivorous Round-leaved Sundew.

The refuge supports 10% of the world population of dusky Canada geese, and the world's small population of Semidi Islands Aleutian Cackling geese, a subspecies of the Aleutian Cackling Goose, and the only coastal wintering population of dusky Canada geese.

"Aleutian Canada Goose (Branta canadensis leucopareia) - This subspecies of Canada Goose breeds in the Aleutian and Semidi Islands of Alaska. The Semidi Island group winters on the Oregon coast at Nestucca Bay NWR. This rather small Canada Goose was on the US Endangered Species List until being delisted in March 2001, when the population made a dramatic recovery after having been reduced to less than 1,000 birds. The Aleutian Canada Goose feeds in the pastures at Nestucca Bay and roosts in the ocean or on Haystack Rock in Pacific City. Like other Canada geese, the Aleutian likes pastures where grass and wetlands are present and can also be found in freshwater, bays, and marshes. They will nest on the ground near water in a nest lined with their down. Clutch size is typically four to eight eggs with a month long incubation period. It can take six to ten weeks for the young to fledge. Their diet is mainly plant matter. Aleutian Canada Geese can be seen migrating in a flock from the central coast of Oregon to the Semidi Islands. At night they can be spotted flying to Haystack Rock Pacific City to roost for the evening." (source -

Directions: The Refuge is located on the west side of Highway 101 approximately six miles south of Pacific City. To visit the refuge turn west off of Highway 101 onto Christensen Road and proceed a half mile to the parking lot.

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