Operational Changes Took Effect on May 1
The Lighthouse Visitor Center is now only open Fridays through Mondays; closed Tuesdays through Thursdays, including Thanksgiving. The Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center will be closed through late December, reopening weekends and holidays on December 28. More »
Visitor Center Winter Hours
Visitor Center Winter Hours took effect on Sunday, November 3, 2013. More »
To treat or not to treat?
Most diseases are a natural part of the ecosystems in which wild animals live. The majority of the organisms that cause disease—viruses, parasites, and bacteria—evolved over thousands of years, alongside the birds, mammals, fish and plants you see in the Seashore. Diseases act as important regulators of wildlife and plant populations, often impacting species more when populations are high and resources (food, water, minerals, shelter and space) are relatively scarce. If not for diseases, overpopulation of wildlife and depletion of resources would be major problems in our parks.
As such, the National Park Service does not treat native species that are sick or diseased, unless they pose a safety hazard to people, pets or livestock, or unless the disease is considered to be caused by humans. For example, a harbor seal that had become tangled in plastic netting might be captured, treated and released, whereas a tule elk with a skin wound resulting from sparring during the rut would likely not. In this way, natural selection—as Charles Darwin described it, "the survival of the fittest"—is protected in our native national park ecosystems.
The diseases listed below are of special concern for park biologists, mainly because they are not endemic and/or natural, and were brought into our native wildlife and plant populations as a result of man’s activities.
For more information, visit the University of Wisconsin — School of Veterinary Medicine's Johnes' Information Center FAQs page.
West Nile Virus
For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's West Nile Virus page.
Domoic Acid Toxicity
Point Reyes National Seashore is critical habitat for a number of sea mammal species, including whales and pinnipeds. The Seashore is a member of the California Marine Mammal Stranding Network, a group of governmental agencies, non-profit and academic institutions that cooperate to study and respond to marine mammal strandings. Sick or dead marine mammals that wash up on Seashore beaches are collected by Network staff and transported to the Marine Mammal Center (MMC) in Sausalito for treatment or post-mortem examination.
For more information, visit the Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institute's Domoic Acid Information and History page.
What to Do If You See Injured or Sick Wildlife
Did You Know?
40 percent of all debris items picked up during California Coastal Cleanup Days are cigarette butts. In 2008, volunteers picked up over 340,000 of them in only three hours. 2008 was the 24th straight year in which cigarette butts were the most numerous debris item picked up. More...