Golden Gate's boundaries extend about a quarter mile offshore and are continguous with the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, making not only the land but the ocean waters of the park protected. Administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (a different agency within the Department of Commerce), a myriad of sea life pass through the sanctuary.
Gray whales follow the continental shelf 35 miles offshore. Pacific gray whales travel south to Baja each fall to give birth to their young, and journey northward to
As one stares out at the often gray and choppy seas off the coast, you wonder if the late Dr. Edgar Wayburn and other conservationists were thinking about ocean protection in the midst of their efforts to establish the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The seabirds, whales, reef organisms, kelp dwellers, and sandy bottom invertebrates and fish that abound off of the Golden Gate are so plentiful here because of a strong upwelling zone where deep nutrients are brought to the surface for multitudes of plankton (the basis of the marine food chain) to feed on. Golden Gate has recently been recognized as a national marine protected area.
Listen to podcasts and audio slide shows about great white sharks, Humboldt squid, and elephant seals and experience the wonders of the deep.
Did You Know?
Alcatraz Island is the site of a large colony of Western Gulls (Larus occidentalis), the gull species that inhabits the Oregon and California coast. Individuals mate for life and come together each year on Alcatraz to defend their historic territory and raise three chicks.