A string of 1,854 wave-washed rocks and islands mirror almost the entire length of the Oregon coast from Tillamook Head to the California border. These precious chunks of unsurveyed lands above the line of mean high water, protected as the Oregon Islands National Wilderness, provide a nesting habitat for an estimated 1.2 million seabirds, more than habitat along the coastlines of California and Washington combined. Beginning in April, black-and-white common murres throng the islands. Summer also brings tufted puffins, rhinoceros and Cassin's auklets, pigeon guillemots, Leach's storm-petrels, black oystercatchers, western gulls, and other species, which nest on the islands and feed in the Pacific Ocean. These rocky islands and reefs also serve as haul-outs for seals and sea lions including harbor seals, northern elephant seals, California sea lions, and the Steller sea lion, which haul themselves up on to rocks to give birth, to rest, and to molt. The Rogue and Orford Reef units of this Wilderness constitute the largest breeding and pupping sites for Steller sea lions in U.S. waters south of Alaska.
All of the island acreage has been designated Wilderness, with the exception of 1-acre Tillamook Rock and Lighthouse, and all areas are closed to public entry at all times. Waters within 500 feet of the refuge islands are closed to all watercraft from May 1 through September 15.
Closed Wilderness Area
Ten of the National Wilderness Preservation System's 803 wilderness areas are closed to access and use by the general public. Most of these closed areas are managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service. The core mission of the Service's National Wildlife Refuge System is conservation of native fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats. The Oregon Islands Wilderness, part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, is closed to visitation to protect wildlife and other natural, cultural, and/or other resources consistent with the conservation purpose(s) of the refuge. Wilderness designation provides an additional level of protection for the wilderness portion of this refuge, but does not open the area to public access or use.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
(No official title, designates Indian Peaks Wilderness) - Public law 95-450 (10/11/1978) To create the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area and the Arapaho National Recreation Area, to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to study the feasibility of revising the boundaries of the Rocky Mountain National Park, and to add certain lands to the Oregon Islands Wilderness