Wildlife Protection Closures
Western Snowy Plovers
Point Reyes Beach Temporary Beach Closure - August 1, 2015, through August 2, 2015
A temporary closure of the beach area between the North Beach parking lot and the mouth of Abbotts Lagoon is in effect to better ensure the survival of federally-threatened western snowy plover nests and chicks within this area during the busy weekend. All public use shall be prohibited. Reproductive monitoring of western snowy plovers at Point Reyes has previously demonstrated that chick mortality is higher on weekend days than weekdays. Disturbance by park visitors in plover breeding areas can separate chicks from the adults, and the chicks may then not be able to forage efficiently, thermoregulate properly, and hide from predators. In 2013, for example, of the 11 newly hatched chicks in the proposed closure area, only 3 survived past the July 4 weekend. At this point of the 2015 breeding season, few chicks have survived to fledging age and additional protection measures are needed to assist in chick survival and the persistence of the Point Reyes western snowy plover population.
Determination of Temporary Beach Closure - August 1 through August 2, 2015 - signed on July 29, 2015 (24 KB PDF)
Map of Temporary Closure - August 1 through August 2, 2015 (289 KB PDF)
Point Reyes Beach Temporary Pet Restriction - June 4, 2015, through September 30, 2015
A temporary closure of the beach area between 1 mile south of the North Beach parking lot and 0.5 mile north of the South Beach parking lot is in effect to ensure the survival of a federally-threatened western snowy plover nest that is located between North Beach parking lot and South Beach parking lot. All visitors with pets will be restricted from entering the temporary no pet access area from Thursday, June 4th through Wednesday, September 30. Pet restrictions around western snowy plover breeding beaches at Point Reyes are a current practice. Pets add additional disturbance to the plovers due to the similarities pets have with natural predators. Disturbance by pets can lead to nest abandonment, nest failure, adult fatigue, decreased adult fitness, and chick fatality. Pets are normally allowed on the entire beach between North Beach parking lot and South Beach parking lot due to lack of plover nesting activity in the area since 1995, but the recent discovery of a nest in 2015 necessitates the temporary pet restriction action. Now that a nest is present a reduction in pet access needs to be implemented.
Determination of Temporary Pet Restriction - signed on June 4, 2015 (29 KB PDF)
Map of Temporary Closure (267 KB PDF)
There have also been beach closures during the 2014 Fourth of July holiday weekend, the 2015 Memorial Day weekend, and every weekend between June 20 and August 2, 2015, for the protection of the threatened western snowy plover. In 2013, there were eleven plover chicks at the beginning of the 4th of July holiday weekend; three survived to Monday. Plovers can be impacted in a number of ways by heavy human activity in their habitat, including increased flushing caused by humans or pets, and by activities that draw corvids (ravens, crows, and jays) to the beach, such as poor food management. The closures usually extended from Abbotts Lagoon south to the North Beach parking area. Map (289 KB PDF)
To protect harbor seals from disturbance during the most crucial part of the pupping season, from March 1 through June 30 the National Park Service has closed the following areas to the public: Drakes Estero, Estero de Limantour, the western end of Limantour Spit, and South Blue Gum Beach. Pelican Point, Duck Island and the east side of Hog Island are closed to the public year round.
Map of Estero closures (258 KB PDF)
Map of Tomales Bay closures (209 KB PDF)
Map of Hog Island closure (42 KB PDF)
Llamas are prohibited from all areas that are inhabited by tule elk. Map (200 KB PDF)
Marine Protected Areas
On May 1, 2010, a number of Marine Protected Areas went into effect within and adjacent to Point Reyes National Seashore, in part to better protect nesting birds. Per the Marine Life Protection Act (MPLA), the Point Reyes Headlands is closed to all vessels within 305 meters (1000 feet) of shore from Chimney Rock west to Longitude 123° 01.00'. Per the Superintendent's Compendium, from Longitude 123° 01.00' west to the Point Reyes Lighthouse the headlands is closed to all vessels within 91 meters (100 yards) of shore. There are also 91-meter (300-foot) special closures around Point Resistance and Double Point/Stormy Stack, per the MLPA.
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