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Contact: John Dell'Osso, 415-464-5135
As the rehabilitation work resumes at the historic Lifeboat Station marine railway on Monday, July 10 at Point Reyes National Seashore, Chimney Rock Road will be closed to vehicle and bicycle access. Access to destinations such as Chimney Rock and the Elephant Seal Overlook will still be available, but only by foot. Parking will be available at the Sunset Beach parking area along Chimney Rock Road, but vehicle access will be restricted beyond that point. The restrooms in the Chimney Rock parking lot will be open. This closure will be in effect until mid-September of this year.
The Drakes Bay facility is the last remaining example of a lifeboat station with an intact marine railway for launching rescue boats directly into the Pacific Coast. The Lifeboat Station, attached railway system, captain’s house and outbuildings were designated a National Historic Landmark in January 1990; one of only 2,000 structures that have been nominated and approved for landmark status in the United States.
The Lifeboat marine railway was constructed in 1927 and was used by the U.S. Coast Guard for emergency sea rescues until 1968. The Boathouse and crew were involved in many dramatic shipwrecks at the Point Reyes Headlands including the Hartwood (1929), Richfield (1930), and Munleon (1931). Because the design of the Lifeboat railway did not meet the launch needs for the new Coast Guard boat designs, the property was transferred to the National Park Service (NPS) in 1969. The last time the steel railway was replaced was in 1946.