Type of Project: Facilitated
Whale Cove is state-designated habitat refuge. NCLC spent a decade working to conserve the sea cliffs and upland forest above the cove after a housing development attempt there failed. In 2014 the property became part of Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge.
Designated a Habitat Refuge by the State of Oregon, Whale Cove south of Depoe Bay is an exceptionally pristine ocean cove—“the only virgin cove in Oregon,” according to one marine scientist. In February 2005, after a housing development was attempted and failed at the site, North Coast Land Conservancy began working with landowners surrounding Whale Cove to explore ways to conserve the sea cliffs and upland coastal forest above the cove.
One of those homeowners—the Bryce Buchanan family—stepped in and bought the property and began working with NCLC to design a conservation acquisition plan. The property was valued at $2.25 million; the Buchanans accepted $1.1 million for it, in effect making a $1.15 million donation to conserve the land.
In December 2014, that land was finally conserved as part of Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Throughout that 10-year process NCLC played a pivotal role, bringing together state and federal officials with private landowners and securing the necessary funding. Ultimately the US Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to take ownership of the property and manage it in perpetuity for its habitat value. State regulations already prohibit the harvest of any kind of marine life in Whale Cove. This scenic cove can be viewed from nearby Rocky Creek State Park and US Highway 101.
There is no public access into Whale Cove, but it can be viewed from nearby Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint, south of Depoe Bay.