About Cedar Island
Cedar Island is one of Virginia’s most important coastal sites for migratory birds. During the spring and summer months in particular, the dynamic beaches and marshes support incredible numbers of nesting and migrating birds attempting to successfully raise young right here along our coast or rest and fuel up for long migratory journeys to breeding grounds north of here. Cedar Island’s high energy sandy beaches and pristine marshes provide just what they need. The island’s close proximity to the mainland makes the island a popular destination for visitors, so managers aim to balance recreational use with the protection of sensitive habitats and wildlife. Before visiting, please familiarize yourself with site use policies and seasonal restrictions in order to help maintain this balance.
A complex history for Cedar Island has resulted in a unique pattern of land ownership across the site. In the 1950s, the island was subdivided into hundreds of lots platted for residential development. The development project, however, never succeeded due to natural island migration processes. Over the years many of those lots were purchased by or donated to The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Today, the majority of the island is owned and managed by these two entities but private inholdings remain scattered across the landscape. The northernmost mile of the island, north of the Coast Guard Station and often referred to as Cedar Sandbar, is managed by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. Since determining where exact property boundaries are at the site is difficult, visitors are encouraged to follow the use policies set by these agencies in order to protect sensitive natural resources and be aware the private inholdings exist and property boundaries should be respected.