Park Wavelengths - January 2012
Friday, January 27, 2012
Forwarded to Park Wavelengths Subscribers:
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Recent rains brought the creek up even more over Coast Trail and it is now impassable for vehicles to service restrooms and empty trash at Coast Camp. Plans are underway for a long-term fix which will require significant planning and compliance with various agencies. A short-term solution is also being considered but will also require planning and compliance. No new reservations will be accepted for Coast Camp until park staff are able to service the area. All existing reservations will be honored but the access for hikers will be down Laguna Trail or Limantour Beach.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
The new moon rises with the Chinese Year of the Dragon on Monday, January 23--considered one of the most auspicious signs in the Chinese Zodiac! The Lunar Year 4710 begins with extreme tides for tidepooling in afternoons. Very high water on the beaches in the mornings may occur if rain continues across the weekend:
The anticipated rain will be a boon for Coho salmon. December 2011 was the second driest December ever recorded at the Bear Valley rain gauge in over 40 years of data; water levels have been too low for salmon to enter the creeks. Coho salmon spawning has been recorded as late as early February so park staff remain hopeful this weekend's rain will bring them up!
There are a lot of Northern elephant seals on park beaches as we head into the busy breeding period in February. Last week's numbers were 796 seals across locations in the park with 214 of those pups. Staff and volunteers assisted a sub adult (teenager) seal who had pulled up on the beach with plastic strapping around his neck. It was removed and the injury cleaned and treated, the seal returned to the ocean where salt water will contribute to the healing process. A reminder about plastic debris: clip beverage rings apart and other plastic strapping materials apart before placing them in the trash.
Students at Neil Cummins School in Corte Madera have donated their tule boats to the Coast Miwok Exhibit at Kule Loklo. The students constructed the tule boats and paddled them in the Corte Madera Creek as part of their studies on the local tribe.
Approval has been received from the national office to raise camping fees at Point Reyes in 2012 as well as to move the campground reservation system to the nationwide online service at recreation.gov. Details are being developed and will be posted to the park website. The window of reservations will change from 3 months to 6 months and extended hours and online reservations will improve service.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
The full moon rises on Monday, January 9. It is the "Moon of Frost in the Tipi" for Dakotah Sioux! Early morning high tides in the 6 foot range make afternoons a better time for beach walking.
Winter wildlife season is underway with 21 gray whales swimming by on Saturday! The initial count for the Northern elephant seal population is 340 across the three colony sites. The most visible group is seen from Chimney Rock. This North Drakes Beach colony has 90 seals with 19 females and 5 pups. Generally, the height of activity is February, but we are off to a healthy start for the new year! Continued sunny weather will trigger shuttle service on weekends and holidays to the seal and whale watching areas.
Turkey vultures have established a new roosting spot on Bear Valley Road just past the Olema Marsh turnoff. These very social birds like to roost together before circling on mid-morning thermals or bubbles of warm air to search for decomposing animals. More senior and older birds are at the top, younger ones on the lower branches.
The annual Fungus Fair takes over Bear Valley Visitor Center this weekend and is an excellent opportunity to have experts identify mushrooms. Collecting teams will organize at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 7 and return for identifications by 1:00 p.m. On Sunday, educational displays will be set up with mushrooms and labels.
Did You Know?
So many California red-legged frogs were caught for consumption in the late 1800's that their numbers declined throughout California. So bullfrogs were imported from the east to help meet the demand. But bullfrogs are voracious predators and helped drive the red-legged frog population lower yet. More...