Operational Changes Took Effect on May 1
The Lighthouse Visitor Center is now only open Fridays through Mondays. The Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center will be closed through late December 2013. More »
2013 Harbor Seal Pupping Season Closures
From March 1 through June 30, the park implements closures of certain Tomales Bay beaches and Drakes Estero to water-based recreation to protect harbor seals during the pupping season. Please avoid disturbing seals to ensure a successful pupping season. More »
National Park Service Receives Signed Offer to Sell Giacomini Ranch Property
Contact: John Dell'Osso, 415-464-5135
The National Park Service announced today the signing of an “Offer to Sell” for approximately 550 acres of land owned by Waldo Giacomini and family members within the boundaries of Golden Gate National Recreation Area. National Park Service Director, Robert G. Stanton stated, “This land purchase is one of the most important acquisitions we will make this year. It will enable the National Park Service to further protect a critical estuary on the Pacific Coast—Tomales Bay—for future generations. This is indeed a significant addition to the National Park System.”
The Giacomini property is located within the Northern District of Golden Gate National Recreation Area that is administered by Point Reyes National Seashore. Located at the southern end of Tomales Bay, the National Park Service has been interested in acquiring this important property for over 15 years. “This is a critical piece of habitat at the headwaters of Tomales Bay where over 50,000 shorebirds and waterfowl migrate over this stretch of the Pacific Flyway every winter. Tomales Bay is one of the most pristine estuaries in the country,” stated Don Neubacher, Superintendent of Point Reyes National Seashore.
Golden Gate National Recreation Area Superintendent Brian O'Neill stated, "Acquisition of this important wetlands has been a goal of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area for years. We appreciate and thank the Giacomini family for the spirit of cooperation they have shown in bringing this property under National Park Service protection."
The property is being purchased with mitigation funding from California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) and from Congressional appropriations. Additional CALTRANS and National Park Service funding is available for the eventual restoration of the site to wetlands. The property is in escrow and is anticipated to be transferred to the National Park Service in approximately 30 days.
Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey praised the National Park Service and the Giacomini family for reaching agreement on this project. Representative Woolsey added, “I applaud the National Park Service and the Giacomini family for making this happen. This is a major step in protecting the natural beauty of Tomales Bay and ensuring our children can enjoy it for years to come.”
The site has been investigated extensively by the hydrology consultant Phil Williams and Associates LTD and a study that determined the site to be feasible for restoration of wetlands was completed in 1994. The restored wetlands will be named the Waldo Giacomini Wetlands. Lagunitas and Olema Creeks are major coastal streams that flow into the wetlands and through the property. These two creeks are passages for nearly 10% of the remaining federally threatened coho salmon population in central and northern California.
Historically, wetlands throughout the San Francisco Bay Area totaled approximately 192,000 acres but in the past 150 years, only 21% or 40,000 acres remain, and some of those are severely degraded.
Did You Know?
Since the restoration of the Giacomini Wetlands in 2008, the tidewater goby--a federally endangered brackish-water resident fish species--has not only been observed in the newly restored channels and ponds, but in Lagunitas Creek, where it had previously not been documented since 1953. More...