Celebrating 40 Years of Preservation at Point Reyes National Seashore: A Natural Sanctuary/A Human Haven

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Date: September 6, 2002
Contact: John Dell'Osso, 415-464-5135

Point Reyes National Seashore will be celebrating its 40th Anniversary this September. President John F. Kennedy signed the legislation to establish Point Reyes as a National Park on September 13, 1962. For 40 years, this magical place has provided inspiration to individuals from across the nation. Point Reyes is the only National Seashore on the Pacific Coast.

“For all of us, this is a time to reflect on and remember the dedication of countless individuals who helped to create Point Reyes as a national park, preserved in perpetuity for all Americans. As time passes and wild places diminish in California, we will be even more grateful this outstanding area was set aside. As part of the National Park Service, we pledge to care for this special place for generations to come,” stated Park Superintendent Don Neubacher.

The global significance of Point Reyes as a protected area continues to grow. Population Action International describes this portion of central California as one of the 25 most biologically rich but threatened areas in the world. Last year, the American Bird Conservancy listed Point Reyes as one of the 100 Globally Important Bird Areas. The park has documented over 27 federally threatened and endangered species found within its boundaries and is truly a natural sanctuary for countless species. Over 485 species of birds (45% of avian species in North America) have been seen on the peninsula. Additionally, over 60 species of mammals, 23 of which are marine mammals, and 900 species of flowering plants call this 71,000-acre paradise home.

The area’s rich human history dates back some 5,000 years before present with the Coast Miwok Indian story which continues in Marin and Sonoma Counties to this day. A wave of European explorers in the 16th Century anchored for days and weeks at a time, including Sir Francis Drake and his crew. The Mexican land grant period in the 1800s also left its mark on the Point Reyes peninsula. To this day, dairy and beef ranching families from the mid-1800s still work to preserve the open space found in western Marin County.

Each year, over 2.5 million visitors travel to this spectacular coastal sanctuary. The Seashore is one of the top 30 most visited units of the National Park System. With over 80 miles coastline, recreational opportunities abound. The park has four backcountry campgrounds, miles of protected bays for kayaking, 147 miles of hiking travels, and miles and miles of superb beaches.

According to a recent study by the University of Michigan, Point Reyes National Seashore is estimated to contribute over $150 million in economic benefit to the regional and 1,800 jobs. In turn, the University of Idaho in 2002 surveyed park visitors and 98% of respondents were satisfied with the overall quality of facilities, services, and recreational opportunities. One respondent stated “The Point Reyes is a treasure of untold value—keep it and love it.” Another respondent noted “Point Reyes overall is my favorite park in the world.”

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer stated, “Whenever I visit Point Reyes, I am reminded how grateful I am to those who had the good sense to work to set aside this special place in 1962. Although it may be forty, to me and to all those who love it, Point Reyes National Seashore will always be ageless.”

Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey of the 6th District of California noted, “Point Reyes is one of the most popular National Parks in the country. It exemplifies the National Park Service's mission of stewardship by successfully balancing the needs of visitors and ranchers with the preservation of ecosystems and historical sites.”

On August 20th 2002, the Marin County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution that “does hereby celebrate the existence of the Point Reyes National Seashore, and commends with heartfelt appreciation all those who have worked to make it the glorious, nationally important resource that it is.”

As the park celebrates this milestone, it is important to remember the efforts of people to avert large-scale developments in the Point Reyes area. For example, in 1956, planning began for a large-scale housing development at Limantour Beach and was later approved in 1960. Half-acre lots were being sold on the 1,000-acre development and 18 houses were built before the park purchased the land. Also, in 1958, logging was underway in Olema Valley near Five Brooks by the Sweet Lumber Company and over time the logging company has developed nine miles of roads. In July 1967, an approved West Marin General Plan called for urban development of a 150,000- person community in the Point Reyes and Olema Valley area.

The park has numerous celebratory events planned over the next month. See attached sheets for details or visit the park’s website at www.nps.gov/pore.

Celebration Activities

A month-long celebration will take place highlighted by the following events:

Butter Making At Point Reyes
Saturday, September 7, 11 am - 2 pm
Bear Valley Visitor Center
Join a ranger at the visitor center making butter the old fashioned way.

Junior Ranger Program
Sunday, September 8, 1 pm - 2 pm
Bear Valley Visitor Center
This ranger-guided program helps children ages 6-12 years earn a Junior Ranger Badge. Parents welcome.

Habitat Protection and Restoration
Sunday, September 8, 9 am - 2 pm
In this ranger-led hands-on activity, learn about and help preserve the park's special native plant and animal communities by removing introduced non-native plants near Limantour Beach.

The Birth of Point Reyes
Saturday, September 14, 1 pm - 2 pm
Bear Valley Visitor Center
Discover the fascinating history of how this National Seashore came to be.

Habitat Protection and Restoration
Saturday, September 14 and Sunday, September 15, 9 am - 3 pm
In this ranger-led hands-on two day event, learn about and help preserve the park's special native plant and animal communities by removing introduced non-native invasive plants near the Point Reyes Lighthouse and in the dunes at Abbotts Lagoon. Join us for one or both days. Limited free overnight accommodations are available at the Historic Lifeboat Station. Call 415- 464-5285 for more information and to reserve accommodations.

Open House
Sunday, September 15, 2 pm - 3 pm
Historic Lifeboat Station
Tour the historic lifeboat station and hear stories about the awe-inspiring history of the US Lifesaving Service.

Cultural Demonstrations
Saturday, September 21, 1 pm - 4 pm
Kule Loklo Village
Cultural demonstrators at Kule Loklo, a recreated Coast Miwok village.

Discover Tule Elk
Sunday, September 22, 12 noon - 3 pm
Tomales Point, Tule Elk Reserve
Learn about tule elk and the decisions made to protect this growing herd.

Celebrating 40 Years
Saturday, September 28, 2:30 pm - 4 pm
Red Barn Conference Room
Join us for a community forum featuring a panel discussion among leaders instrumental in the establishment of the park

Return of the Coho Salmon
Sunday, September 29, 1 pm - 2 pm
Bear Valley Visitor Center
Discover the parks efforts in helping restore salmon to their native habitat.

Habitat Protection and Restoration
Sunday, September 29, 9 am - 2 pm
In this ranger-led hands-on activity, learn about and help preserve the park's special native plant and animal communities by removing introduced non-native invasive plants in the dunes at Abbotts Lagoon.


Last updated: February 28, 2015

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Mailing Address:

1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956


(415) 464-5100
This number will initially be answered by an automated attendant, from which one can opt to access a name directory, listen to recorded information about the park (i.e., directions to the park; visitor center hours of operation; weather forecast; fire danger information; shuttle bus system status; wildlife updates; ranger-led programs; seasonal events; etc.), or speak with a ranger. Please note that if you are calling between 4:30 pm and 10 am, park staff may not be available to answer your call.

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