• The Point Reyes Beach as viewed from the Point Reyes Headlands

    Point Reyes

    National Seashore California

Park Wavelengths

Park Wavelengths is a bi-weekly email informing subscribers about events, closures, natural history, and cultural history at Point Reyes. If you would like to subscribe to Park Wavelengths, please email us. Please include "Would like to subscribe to Park Wavelengths" in the subject field and include your email address in the message. Or...

Wednesday, December 16, 2014

The new moon and the winter solstice both occur on December 21. The winter solstice occurs on the shortest day and longest night of the year, when the sun's daily maximum elevation in the sky is the lowest. The dark night sky as a result of the new moon offers glimpses of the Ursid meteor shower (only 5–10 per hour), which will add a little extra glitter to the holiday skies!

Northern elephant seals are returning to park beaches around the Headlands, and the first pup has been born in the main colony. Typically, the height of activity at the "north” Drakes Beach colony, which may be seen from the Chimney Rock area, occurs in February. Over the past weekend, a dozen gray whales made their way past the Lighthouse, heading towards the warmth of southern waters.

Park visitor centers are closed on Thursday, December 25. Rangers are on duty elsewhere in the park, and trails and roads are open.

All roads in the park are open, but many trails are blocked to horses by downed trees. The Horse Trail, Mt. Wittenberg Trail, Olema Valley Trail, and Stewart Trail are reported blocked at this time. Hikers are able to pick their way through/around the downed trees, but watch for poison oak and use caution. Clearing is ongoing between rain showers. Be sure to check in at the park website and visitor centers for up to date information. Conditions can change rapidly.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2014

Forwarded to Park Wavelengths Subscribers

Date: Wednesday, December 16, 2014
Subject: Upcoming Science Talks at Point Reyes National Seashore

Please Join us for the following Science Talks at Point Reyes National Seashore. Contact Ben Becker by email for more information.

Sunday, January 4, 2015 (at the Bear Valley Visitor Center)
10 AM - 4 PM: 10th Annual Point Reyes Fungus Fair

Schedule of Speakers:

11:00 am "Forest Fires and Fungi: Losers, Winners and Strategies" by Dr. Tom Bruns
12:30 pm "The Art and History of Mushroom Dyes" by Dorothy Beebee
2:00 pm "Zen and the Art of Mushroom Hunting" by Debbie Viess

More info: http://www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/events_fungusfair.htm

Thursday, January 8, 2015 (at the Red Barn Classroom)
Time: 12:00 Noon
Speaker: Dr. Kent Lightfoot, UC Berkeley
Title: "The Study of Indigenous Landscape Management Practices in Central California: An Eco-Archaeological Approach."
Website: http://anthropology.berkeley.edu/users/kent-lightfoot

Ben Becker, Ph.D.
Science Coordinator and Marine Ecologist
Pacific Coast Science and Learning Center
Point Reyes National Seashore

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Today, Friday, December 12, Sir Francis Drake Boulevard is closed at Pierce Point Road westward to the Lighthouse due to flood waters over the roadway. No access to the Point Reyes Lighthouse, Chimney Rock, North Beach, South Beach, Drakes Beach, Bull Point Trail, the Estero Trailhead, or Mt. Vision Road today. We'll let you know when the water goes down.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The twins are here! The Geminid meteor shower—with numerous meteors described as "multi-colored"—begins on December 7 and peaks the night of December 13–14.

Heavy rain and morning high tides (6-feet-plus) bring water to low lying areas in West Marin. Crews in the park are out assessing trail and road conditions. Updates are posted at the Bear Valley Visitor Center.

The recent storm events are good news for coho salmon and steelhead trout who wait in saltwater areas to begin their return to their natal freshwater streams. Redwood Creek in Muir Woods has breached, so fish can now move upstream and surveys are beginning. Coho and steelhead have been seen in Lagunitas Creek.

The annual shuttle bus season begins December 26, weather permitting. Sir Francis Drake Highway is closed at South Beach on weekends and federal holidays if the weather is clear. Shuttles bring visitors to the Lighthouse and Chimney Rock areas for viewing gray whales and elephant seals. Due to Federal holidays falling on Thursdays [December 25 and January 1] this winter, the shuttles may be called in Fridays, December 26 and January 2. Shuttle cost is $7.00 per adult; children 16 and under free. Discounts are provided to Interagency Access and Senior Passholders. (Stay tuned for news of services coming to the Drakes Cafe).

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Tottori University drift transponder.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Researchers from Tottori University in Japan are tracking tsunami debris by releasing brightly colored drift bottles (see photo to the right). If you come across one on local beaches, please follow instructions on how to contact the researchers.


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