Tidepool Etiquette

A Fragile Balance

The plants and animals in the tidepools are well adapted to withstand biting wind, pounding waves and a range of weather, but they are not well adapted to withstand human contact. Research shows that 200 footsteps an hour kills everything in a small area; it takes 7-10 undisturbed years to recover.

Please remember: we are visitors to the intertidal habitat and must respect animals that call Haystack Rock home by not poking, prodding, prying, removing, eating, squashing, stomping, kicking, licking, collecting, crushing or otherwise injuring plants and animals.

Rules of the Rock

tidepoolerWatch where you step: walk only on bare rocks and sand to avoid stepping on vulnerable creatures like anemones, mussels and barnacles. If you want to know how something feels, touch it very gently and keep in mind that some things are unsafe for people to touch–especially kids.

Enjoy watching wildlife in its natural state and leave things undisturbed for others to discover and enjoy. Don’t pick things up and don’t take things home.

Observe Marine Garden and Wildlife Refuge boundaries. The boundaries are there to protect you AND the animals that call Haystack Rock “home.” Keep in mind that because of the rising tide and storm conditions it is difficult to keep signs in place all times of the year. Please respect the Marine Garden and Wildlife Refuge boundaries even when the signs are not present. We appreciate your cooperation.

Listen and cooperate when someone asks you to leave an area or stop what you are doing…whether they are HRAP staff members, volunteers, police, lifeguards, stewards or other visitors, they have your safety and the well-being of the wildlife in mind.

Be aware of sneaker waves and the rising tide–keep track of time and always have an escape route that is safe for you…and for the inhabitants of the tidepools around Haystack Rock.

Keep dogs on leashes and under control.

Most importantly, come ready to learn and have fun!