Last updated: January 11, 2024
Compared to other batteries in the region, Battery Yates held relatively small, 3-inch diameter rapid fire rifles, used to protect the bay entrance. In the event of a foreign attack, its guns could fire up to 30 shots per minute at fast moving enemy torpedo boats. During World War II, the guns protected an anti-submarine net that spanned the entrance to the bay.
In the mid-1800s, the US Army wanted to build a fort to match Fort Point on the north end of the San Francisco Bay. This was to be at Lime Point, and it was to be built roughly where the north tower of the Golden Gate Bridge stands today. In order to build upon the rock outcropping that stood separate from Marin, the plans called for heavy blasting to level the surface of the rock. This proved too difficult and the plans were abandoned. The army decided to forgo their brick fort defense designs altogether, in favor of a more modern defense: a network of batteries.
The Great White Fleet
On May 6th, 1908, some 200,000 people came out to the hills of the Marin Headlands to watch as the Great White Fleet pulled into the San Francisco Bay. A showy display of military strength, the fleet was something akin to the Blue Angels of today. The US naval battle fleet stopped here on its circumnavigation of the globe on the orders of President Theodore Roosevelt, to demonstrate American military might.
Mission Blue Butterflies
Mission blues are just little guys. Adults are about the size of a quarter, and larvae are so small that they're rarely seen. These little beauties look a little different depending on if they're guys or gals. Females have brown and some blue coloration on the upper side of their wings. Males are light blue. Both have dark edges around their wings. The underside of their wings are off-white with two rows of irregularly shaped black spots.
Mission blues require a host plant and nectar in coastal grassland habitat to survive. The host plants utilized by the Mission blue are several varieties of lupine. Nectar plants include various composites that grow in association with the lupines.
Their sensitivity to habitat and diet in addition to human impact on their environment has made mission blues endangered. Remaining populations are found in only a few locations around the San Francisco Bay Area, the Marin Headlands, Skyline Ridge in San Mateo County and San Bruno Mountain.
Ants and Butterflies: A Dynamic Duo
Mission blue larvae produce a sugary solution that's super-irresistible to native ant species. Because of their uncontrollable sweet tooth's, the ants voluntarily tend to the larvae in return for feeding off their sweetness. While in their care, the ants protect the larvae from predators.
Monarchs are famous nomads. Every fall, a new generation of travelers are born. Like one big, happy family, they migrate from areas as far north as the East Coast of Canada several million strong, all the way to central Mexico. It may take five or six generations for the butterflies to return all the way to their summer homes. They're the only butterflies that make such a massive journey, up to 3,000 miles.
The monarchs that migrate here to overwinter in the mild Pacific Coast temperatures come from west of the Rocky Mountains and generally have a less arduous journey. They're extremely recognizable with their orange and black wing patterns and sometimes congregate in large groups, mainly on the branches of eucalyptus trees at Fort Baker and other spots along the California coast.