Park Wavelengths - August 2005

 

August 25, 2005

Chimney Rock Road/Labor Day Events
Construction plans for repairing the historic railway at the Chimney Rock Lifeboat Station began this week. Chimney Rock Road is closed to car traffic just past the turn-off from A Ranch at the turn around called 'Sunset Beach Overlook'. The lower trailhead parking area will be used as a staging area for equipment and materials. Visitors may walk down the road to access the trail and the Elephant Seal Overlook but not the lifeboat station area. Restrooms at the trailhead will be closed though portable restrooms will be available at the road closure area. This closure is currently in place 24/7 - every day of the week.

Permits have been issued for the Santa Rosa Yacht Club to hold their annual regatta over Labor Day Weekend at Marshall Beach - 100+ people. Permits have been issued for sea kayak training at Drakes Beach on Sunday, August 28.

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August 23, 2005

Horse Trail is Open! Trail crew removed barriers last Friday!

Naturalist Notebook: The new moon rises over Labor Day weekend on Saturday, September 3 at 11:45 am.

Berry of the Week! - Coffeeberry (Rhamnus californica) or suluk to Coast Miwok people is in fruit right now. This native shrub produces a shiny black-deep purple berry about the size of a dime, it is a reddish-green before fully ripe. It has oval, veined leaves. Traditional Miwok uses included use of the bark as a cathartic. Birds feast on the fruit as well.

Barking in the backcountry? Male fallow deer issue a hoarse barking sound as a danger warning to the herd. It has been heard behind the Morgan Horse Ranch and from the Stewart trail, best description - a combination dog bark and pig squeal!

The annual snowy plover protection measures are lifted on the Great Beach as of September 5th. 19 nests were observed this year - 9 chicks fledged and another 9 are still on the beach.

Marin County Parks and Open Space sponsors a hike on the western slope of Inverness Ridge "Muddy Hollow" on Sunday, August 28 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. The five mile uphill and down hike meets at the Muddy Hollow Trailhead off Limantour Road. This area was burned in the Vision fire in 1995 and has recovered, in spring it is a lush wildflower and berry area.

Permits have been issued for weddings - at Drakes Beach on Saturday, August 27 at the Peter Behr Overlook between 3:30 pm and 4:30 pm and also Saturday between 11:30 am and 1:00 pm at Kule Loklo. No congestion or parking delays anticipated.

Labor Day Weekend - All park visitor centers are open throughout the weekend and on Monday. The county has issued a permit for a public event at White House Pool on Saturday, September 3 from 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm. Parking may be congested in that area.

Sunday, September 4 is the annual Sand Sculpture Contest at Drakes Beach, the largest public event of the year in the park with over 2000 people. Registration begins at 9:00 am though construction begins earlier. Judging begins at 12 noon with high tide arriving at 1:15 pm. Arrive early for parking, bring a picnic and spend the day! No dogs at Drakes Beach.

Mark your calendars! Saturday, September 17th Beach Clean Up at Drakes Beach with he National Marine Sanctuaries. Vision Fire Anniversary events begin September 10th!

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August 12, 2005

Closures Planned For Chimney Rock Road
Construction plans for repairing the historic railway at the Chimney Rock Lifeboat Station are slated to begin in "late August". Chimney Rock Road will be closed to car traffic just past the turn-off from A Ranch at the turn around called 'Sunset Beach Overlook'. The lower trailhead parking area will be used as a staging area for equipment and materials. Visitors may walk down the road to access the trail and the Elephant Seal Overlook but not the lifeboat station area. Restrooms at the trailhead will be closed though portable restrooms will be available at the road closure area. This closure is expected to occur on weekdays with the road reopening on weekends. It will last through December.

We will provide exact dates as they become available. This notice is being sent only to the local email list for planning - if there are any birding or botanical etc. groups with trips slated for the area, please adjust your itinerary.

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August 9, 2005

Naturalist Notebook: Friday, August 12 is the peak of the annual Perseid meteor showers. This is year is predicted to be a good year for viewing because the moon will not be as bright. For best viewing, be out between midnight and dawn after the moon has set. In West Marin, look towards Black Mountain though there may be some light interference from the Highway 101 corridor. Good places to watch are along the Great Beach. Two East Bay Regional Parks, Coyote Hills near Fremont, and Briones near Martinez will stay open until 3:00 am for viewing.

A week later on Thursday, August 18 at 10:53 am is the full moon, the Blueberry Moon to the Ojibwa of northern Minnesota. This moon brings the last of the daylight hour low tides for several months:

August 19 5:22 am -1.2 feet
August 20 6:04 am -1.0 feet
August 21 6:45 am -0.5 feet

Some tropical lilies have been flowering along Bear Valley Trail - small deep orange to lemon yellow - known as 'South African Lily' or Crocosmia (sp.) They remind visitors of freesia but do not have fragrance, in flower shops they are labelled 'Montbretia'. The lilies are native to southern Africa and were brought as garden ornamentals, escaping into the park.

It is a good time to see the male deer in the park with their fully developed sets of antlers. Males with the largest 'racks' of antlers are considered the most successful in breeding. Usually by August, the blood filled velvet starts to dry and fall off; the animals will often rub their antlers on small saplings of alder and willow to get off all the velvet. Antlers are among the fastest growing tissues - 1-2 inches per week. Once the antlers fall off later in the year, they become an important nutrient source for small critters like mice. It is the beginning of the tule elk rut in the park and volunteer docents are stationed at Tomales Point on weekends with spotting scopes to help observe the elk during the breeding season.

Geologists from the University of Missouri are conducting their annual summer studies along the Rift Zone Trail aka the San Andreas Rift Zone. They have been digging trenches to attempt to identify patterns in earthquake activities and have reached the year 1425 AD in their timeline of study.

Permits have been issued for a ceramic pit firing at North Beach on August 13 between 8:30 and 2:00. A film crew will be at Chimney Rock on August 11th filming the Marin Conservation Corps crew who have been working on the Elephant Seal Overlook Trail. Filming is scheduled between 9:30 - 2:00 pm. A community event on Saturday, August 13 in Inverness will cause traffic slow downs and congestion through Inverness on Sir Francis Drake Highway.

Marin County Open Space and Parks Department sponsor a couple of hikes in the area. On Saturday, August 13 from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm "Summer Wildlife of Audubon Canyon Ranch. This is a bit of an uphill hike. The ranch is known for the nesting egrets but is also home to arboreal salamanders, living in holes in the old orchard trees on the site. Wednesday, August 17 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm - "Coast Trails and Ponds of Point Reyes" This five mile hike meets at the Palomarin Trailhead, at the end of Mesa Road north of Bolinas.

Summer safety - a third injury at Bass Lake in the last week. Repeating the last edition warning - the National Park Service does not recommend swimming in Bass Lake. A purple jellyfish - light purple with dark stinging tentacles has been observed at Drakes Beach where a youngster was stung and had a mild reaction cured with meat tenderizer. These jellyfish are coming further north of their usual range this year.

This weekend is the last free brush drop at Beebe Ranch in Olema - 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

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Last updated: February 28, 2015

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Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

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