Sanctuary for Wolves

A nonprofit organization near Waldport provides a home for wolves as well as educational tours for visitors.


In the forested mountains east of Waldport, wolves howl and play from amid the safety of spacious, enclosed habitats. The White Wolf Sanctuary, a nonprofit organization, has a mission to preserve and protect wolves, promote the recovery of wolf populations where appropriate, and encourage conservation through education about wildlife and its role in the natural world.

The Sanctuary, which has been operating since 1999, is a place for wolves who cannot be released into the wild to live out their lives. The sanctuary includes many Arctic wolves, recognizable by their white fur. But it is also a place people can visit to learn more about all kinds of wolves through private tours.

Sanctuary president Mace Loftus says the wolves serve well as “ambassadors” for their wild counterparts. “Most of the wolves love to see visitors and will come up to the fence to make an appearance for everyone. They have been known to howl when they see visitors.”

Tours begin just off the Alsea River Highway, where guests are escorted in their own vehicles to the top of a forested mountain where the White Wolf Sanctuary is located. Once there, everyone convenes on a deck for a 45-minute presentation about wolves and their place in the natural world as apex predators.

After the presentation, a guided tour gives guests the opportunity to visit each wolf’s habitat and learn their story. The experience ends with time for questions and answers. Visitors should plan to spend about two hours on the tour. The sanctuary also operates a small gift shop.

“For us,” says Mace, “the best experiences have been to see our guests walk away with more of an appreciation and better understanding of what we think is one of nature’s most interesting animals.”

When You Go

Tours are offered rain or shine, by appointment only, and can be booked online. Visitors should come dressed appropriately for changing weather conditions. (541-528-3588)

Donations are welcome and can be made online.

This story appeared in the Summer 2020 issue of Oregon Coast magazine. Updated online May 2024.