Park Wavelengths - November 2007


November 20, 2007

The full moon rises Friday, November 23 with some afternoon daylight low tides:

Thursday, November 22 3:07 pm -0.8 feet
Friday, November 23 3:54 pm -1.4 feet

The fungus is among us! It is shaping up to be an abundant mushroom year. For a quick species identification, walk up the Woodpecker Trail where a dozen species are easily seen from this short trail in a mixed Douglas Fir forest near the Bear Valley Visitor center - a couple easily identifiable species are the slimy orange - yellow Witches Butter is on the bay trees; the artists conk looks like a flat shelf with a white underside. Some of the poisonous red capped amanitas with white spots are poking through the pine duff near the bridge on Estero Trail. Note: species found among evergreens differ from species found in oak woodlands. Mushroom collecting for personal use is permitted in the national seashore at two gallons plus one large mushroom per person. Mushrooms have been in the news recently - one of the oil collection techniques is to soak up oil on hair mats and then raise oyster mushrooms on the oils soaked hair mats.

Beach closures in effect at Point Reyes as of today are Palomarin and Wildcat Beach areas; Sculptured Beach south towards Arch Rock. Clean up continues on these stretches. No oil reached any of the shellfish growing areas in Tomales Bay or Drakes Estero. The park website is regularly updated on oil closures or call the visitor center, seven days a week at (415) 464-5100 x2 x5 before you head out.

Tule elk have settled into their winter rest and chew following the annual rut - though the small harem of the transplanted group may be seen just at the Drakes Beach turn off, one happy male and six females enjoying the sunshine and brush. The elk census group started the yearly count last week at Tomales Point.

New artwork on display at the Bear Valley Visitor Center is from West Marin School students - wetlands poetry and drawings.

A permit has been issued for a documentary film crew in the park for Wednesday, November 21; they will be on Limantour Beach and Chimney Rock. No traffic delays anticipated.

All park visitor centers are open Thanksgiving Day until 2:00 pm; park trails and beaches, visitor centers are open throughout the holiday weekend.

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November 17, 2007

Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Point Reyes National Seashore, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
Oil Spill Information - released 11/16/2007

News Release

For Immediate Release
November 16, 2007

Contact: Chris Powell, (415) 559-9586
Rudy Evenson, (415) 740-8063

Area Beaches to Reopen for the Weekend

Several area beaches are to be reopened after several days of volunteer and contractor clean up efforts. Baker, Fort Funston and China Beaches will reopen at first light. Volunteer crews will do one more cleanup on Ocean Beach and Crissy Field Beach and these two beaches will then reopen, unless circumstances change. At this time, it is unknown when Golden Gate National Recreation Area beaches in Marin will reopen.

The following beaches will open at Point Reyes National Seashore: Limantour, and RCA Beach.

The public is advised that oil may reappear on beaches at any time, and additional closures are possible. Please avoid contact with oil and oil-contaminated objects. To report oil on the beach or in the water, please call 985/ 781-0804. Do not approach oiled wildlife. To report oiled wildlife, call 877/ 823-6926.


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November 17, 2007

As of this morning, Limantour Beach is reopened with a ''rolling closure", moving as the crew cleans southward. If you are walking to the south, left side of the beach, crews are still cleaning and park staff will be on the beach at the closures. These closures begin about two miles down near the access to Coast Campground.

Wildcat and Palomarin Beaches are closed. Again, check park websites for updates or call 415-464-5100 x2 x5, Bear Valley Visitor Center.

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November 15, 2007

We regret to announce that Limantour beach is closed as of today; oil has begun to appear on the beach and park staff are assessing the situation. We will keep you posted via Park Wavelengths and the park website. You can also check in at the Visitor center (415) 464-5100 x2 x5.

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November 14, 2007

PORE Oil Spill Update--November 14, 2007--9:00 am


RCA Beach continues to be cleaned-up. 40 workers on the beach this morning. The crew will be back tomorrow. Dr. Ben Becker, marine ecologist, is on site to ensure the clean-up does not cause additional damage to park resources.

Palomarin inspected yesterday and no oil was found and is now open.

Drakes Estero Update

Below is a report from Jill Baltan, Environmental Scientist, Preharvest

Shellfish Unit, California Department Health Services Shellfish Harvesting from Drakes Estero was closed on Friday, November 9 at 5:30 PM due to the potential impact from the Cosco Busan oil spill. The closure was extended on November 11 at 1:00 AM due to 0.8 inch rainfall in a 24-hour period. Outer Schooner Bay and the remainder of the estero will remain closed at least until November 14 at 1:00 AM, and inner Schooner Bay will remain closed at least through November 18 at 1:00 AM due to the rainfall closure.

Nat'l Oceangraphic and Atmospheric Administration, NPS, Drakes Oyster Company, and Dept. Health Services inspected Drakes Estero yesterday and no oil was found.

Drakes Estero is open to the public.

Oiled Bird Update

Approximately, three oiled birds have been recovered today--two were deceased. Not all beach surveys have reported back. Park staff are locating oiled birds reported near the elephant seal colony and one other location.

Don Neubacher
Point Reyes National Seashore
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

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November 13, 2007

Oil Spill Update--PORE Tuesday, November 13, 2007

RCA and Palomarin Beaches remain closed as a contractor continues clean up work; they have completed about 25% as of yesterday; Palomarin closure is under review - no oil was found there but as a precaution it was closed in case oil moved north.

All other park beaches and Drakes Estero are open.

Total for incident approximately 100 oiled birds at PORE.

Scheduled surveys at PORE today
1. No bird surveys are needed at PORE today by park staff, we do not expect significant numbers today.
2. Beach Watch will be surveying Drakes East and Agate Beach
3. OSPR will be picking up oiled or dead birds at all of Limantour and all of Drakes
4. FWS will be surveying Stormy Stack today for common murres and will spot check PRH
4. No marine mammal surveys in PORE today but I have schedueled marine mammal surveys in SFBay at numerous sites

No oil reports on Limantour, Great Beach, Tomales Bay, Drakes Estero. Drakes Beach West had a few small (dime sized) globs.

No marine mammals or snowy plovers are known to have affected by the oil spill at PRNS.

Roger Wong, Fire officer from Point Reyes, is still at the IC Command Post at Treasure Island. Park staff, OSPR, and volunteers have continued to ensure the Seashore has maximum care and protection.

Don Neubacher
Point Reyes National Seashore
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

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November 12, 2007

Oil Spill Update--11/12/07

A contractor crew will be at RCA and Agate Beaches this morning to clean-up tar balls. A crew of 25 will be on the beaches with Gus Conde, LE park ranger.

Surveys at PRNS Beaches scheduled for Monday 11/12/07

Dead and Live beached birds Surveys
Drakes West
Drakes East
Limantour West
Limantour East
Abbotts Lagoon
Snowy Plovers
Limantour West

Palomarin Beach, RCA Beach, and Drakes Estero remain closed to the public.

Colin Smith, Chief Ranger, is still our lead for the oil spill response. LE Rangers will continue to monitor beaches for tar balls. Roger Wong, FMO, and Bill Shook, NR Chief, continue to monitor activities on-site at the Command Center at Treasure Island.

No booming activities will occur at Drakes and Limantour Estero--boom efforts failed due to strong currents at the mouth of the esteros. No oil has been seen at the mouth of the esteros. Winds are predicted to be from the northwest today and oil is predicted to move south.

Media interest is still high; John Dell'Osso is coordinating with IC Team at GGNRA. Other activities are being coordinated with GGNRA and SF Maritime.

Park staff, County staff, contractors, and volunteer efforts have been incredible--we had over 50 employees and volunteers responding each day since the spill occurred. All park divisions have responded when needed. A special thanks to everyone who has helped with the oil spill response.

Don Neubacher
Point Reyes National Seashore
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

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November 10, 2007

As of this note, no oil has reached Point Reyes National Seashore beaches and no beaches are closed. Park staff have placed a boom across the entrance to Limantour Estero as of today and are working on placing an additional boom across Drakes Estero. Park staff have been sent to assist at Stinson Beach which is closed.

A total of three oiled birds were brought from Limantour Beach yesterday: six were picked up today and two from Drakes Beach. They are being transported by Wildcare volunteers to rehabilitation areas.

As calls come into the visitor center, we are referring potential volunteers to the Oiled Wildlife network at 1-800-228-4544 or

(A lighter note; a California sea lion is lingering under the Green bridge at Point Reyes snacking on carp!)

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November 8, 2007

At 8:30 AM on Wednesday, November 7, an outbound container ship, the COSCO BUSAN, struck a pier of the San Francisco Bay Bridge, spilling approximately 58,000 gallons of fuel oil into San Francisco Bay. Between 12:30 and 3:30 PM, oil landed on the shores of Alcatraz Island and several beaches throughout the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. This is the largest oil spill in the San Francisco Bay since the CAPE MOHICAN incident in 1996.

At Point Reyes National Seashore, we have established an Incident Command Team and Colin Smith, Chief Ranger, is the Incident Commander. Roger Wong, FMO, is our liaison with Incident Command in San Francisco. As of 1:00 pm today (November 8), we have not found any oil on park beaches. Park biologists, LE staff, and others have swept beaches basically all day. However, we are preparing for oil to reach beaches tomorrow (we hope the oil doesn't arrive here). If oil does reach Palomarin, Drakes, or Limantour Beaches, these areas will be closed to the public. Contact to the Bear Valley Visitor Center (415) 663-8522 x2 x5 or (415) 464-5100 x2 x5 for updates and/or check the park website.

We are informing all staff and the public that we do not want anyone to pick up oil or oiled birds. If you locate an oiled bird or a glob of oil, please report it to dispatch 415-464-5170 or the Bear Valley Visitor Center.

Don Neubacher
Point Reyes National Seashore
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

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November 6, 2007

The new moon rises Friday, November 9th followed by the Leonid meteor showers which make an appearance the next weekend; peaking on Sunday, November 18. They will be less visible in coming years as the planet Jupiter begins to draw them away from earth's orbit. Look for almost 100 per hour 'shooting stars' after midnight both Saturday and Sunday.

Ladybugs or Ladybird beetles are on the move toward winter hibernation. They typically gather in huge numbers in canyons of the coast ranges and also like to overwinter here in the leaf litter of the oak trees.

Rangers had a rare spotting of a Golden Eagle flying around the cypress trees of the RCA station off Sir Francis Drake Boulevard last week. These large birds may sit up there, scanning the nearby fields for rabbits to prey upon. Many groups of white pelicans have been seen along Tomales Bay as they head south for the winter.

Around 30 young Northern Elephant seals may be seen from the Chimney Rock Overlook. These are 'sub adult' or juvenile seals; not involved in the breeding activity; the larger males do not usually arrive until late December.

Upcoming Closures for the calendar: Coast and Sky Camps are closed from January 22 through February 7th for rehabilitation work. The Drakes Beach Cafe is closed November 30 through December 27; they reopen for the whale watching shuttle season which begins December 29. Continuing trail closures are on Muddy Hollow Road and the east side of the Giacomini Levee. The first phase of the Giacomini project is finished with the removal of the barn and manure ponds; two new frog ponds have been developed at Olema Marsh.

All park visitor centers are open for the Monday, November 12 Veterans Holiday.

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Last updated: February 28, 2015

Contact the Park

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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