Located five miles northwest of Crescent City in Del Norte County lies Southwest Seal Rock Special Closure, an offshore protected area surrounding a small rocky pinnacle. The rocky landscape of this little island is especially important for Steller sea lions, who rest and give birth to pups on the remote shore.
This special closure extends 300 feet seaward from any point around the entire rock, and vessels are restricted from passing through or dropping anchor. People are not allowed in the protected area, to limit human disturbances to the sea lions that use Southwest Seal Rock as a rookery. The nearby waters are abundant with schools of rockfish, lingcod, halibut, and salmon, and gray whales pass through on their 12,000-mile migration from Alaska to Baja, California. The adjacent shoreline is home to Tolowa Dunes State Park, which includes wetlands, forests, lakes, and stretches of sandy beach.
Boating and access are restricted. Except as permitted by federal law or emergency caused by hazardous weather, no vessel shall be operated or anchored at any time from the mean high tide line to a distance of 300 ft. seaward of the mean lower low tide line of any shoreline of Southwest Seal Rock, year round.
No person except employees of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or United States Coast Guard during performance of their official duties, or unless permission is granted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, shall enter the area.
California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 632(b)(3)California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 632(b)(3)(opens in new tab)
Special Closure size: 0.02 square miles
Depth range: 0 to 93 feet
- Rock: 0.04 square miles
- Sand/mud: Less than 0.01 square miles