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 »
Point Reyes Beaches Littered with Paraffin Wax Material on February 25, 2001
Contact: John Dell'Osso, 415-464-5135
The United States Coast Guard, Point Reyes National Seashore, California Department of Fish & Game Oil Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) and National Marine Sanctuary personnel are involved in investigating the apparent discharge of a paraffin material within Drakes Bay. The paraffin material lines the high tide line for over four miles of scenic Drakes and Limantour Beaches. The material was first sighted on Sunday by park visitors and staff.
The paraffin material has been collected by the U.S. Coast Guard and park rangers and samples have been sent for analysis. The National Park Service and U.S. Coast Guard hope to identify the material and the possible source of the contaminant. Coast Guard contractor crews will be on-site this week to remove the paraffin material from park beaches.
The National Park Service found several dead seabirds in the contaminated area during surveys today, but have not determined the cause of their death. Point Reyes biologists are concerned that material in a liquid state can damage bird feathers and that the small pieces of paraffin may be ingested by migrating and resident shorebirds.
Drakes and Limantour Beaches are utilized by hundreds of thousands of park visitors each year. The offshore Gulf of the Farallones is considered one of the most productive marine areas in the world. Because it is part of Point Reyes National Seashore and the Gulf of the Farallones Marine Sanctuary, marine discharges of any nature are prohibited in the area.
Did You Know?
Earthquakes along the San Andreas Fault adjacent to Point Reyes are rather rare. Big quakes shift Point Reyes up to 20 feet once every 130 years or so, but otherwise there is very little movement. More...