Park Wavelengths - September 2010


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Forwarded to Park Wavelengths Subscribers:

Subject: Olema Valley Controlled Burns Scheduled for Thursday and Friday

Olema Valley Controlled Burns Scheduled for Thursday and Friday (September 30–October 1)

Fire management staff at Point Reyes National Seashore plan to ignite the Strain Hill burn unit along Highway One during the next two days—approximately 70 acres on Thursday and 40 acres on Friday.

Burning will be in progress between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Fire staff will continue to monitor the project area into the early evening to ensure the fire is out.

The project location is approximately 7 miles south of Olema on the east side of Highway One.

No road closures are anticipated, however, there may be some temporary traffic delays near the project area due to fire equipment along the road.

No major smoke impacts are expected, however, drivers should be extra cautious if smoke is present.


Jennifer Chapman
Fire Communication and Education Specialist
S.F. Bay Area National Parks
415-464-5133 TEL / 415-663-8132 FAX

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A new moon on October 7 rises over some mid-day very high tides of 6.5–6.6 feet.

Wednesday, October 6 10:13 a.m. 6.2 feet
Thursday, October 7 10:47 a.m. 6.5 feet
Friday, October 8 11:24 a.m. 6.6 feet
Saturday, October 9 12:03 a.m. 6.6 feet

The spell of warm dry weather drives up fire danger so be sure to plan for alternatives to beach fires! Fire danger is calculated from day to day and in high fire danger, permits are not issued for beach fires due to the danger of spreading to nearby grass lands. Fire season does not end until the first rains, typically around Halloween.

Quail coveys have been active around the visitor center; in particular taking dust baths which help remove parasites. They form larger groups in late autumn and tend to gather around drinking water areas. They are a little more visible at this time of year as they move around more to forage.

Piles of yellowy foam along the Great Beach are "ocean meringues"—dead proteins whipped up by wave action into sticky foamy piles. Naturally occurring, they are seen in the late summer on beaches as wind patterns change.

The young gray whale that has spent the summer at the Lighthouse may be joined by humpbacks as the fall continues. We sometimes see humpbacks from the Great Beach as well.

Orange fencing visible on Tomales Bay near Sacramento Landing is a part of a yearlong effort to control sediment. Two cabins were removed in the area due to age and poor septic systems.

All park visitor centers will be open for the three day federal holiday weekend of October 9–11, 2010. The Seashore is excited to be part of a national effort in welcoming new citizens—a naturalization ceremony will be held in the park on October 12th!

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Subject: White House Pool Project

The Marin County Public Works/Parks Department is beginning a project at White House Pool on Monday, September 27 to clear materials from the creek channels along Sir Francis Drake and partially along Bear Valley Road. Staging for equipment will be in the parking lot. There will be lots of activity and some trail closures. Work continues throughout the weekdays.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Forwarded to Park Wavelengths Subscribers:

Subject: Highway One Burns Planned Next Week

S. F. Bay Area National Parks
Fire Management News
September 21, 2010

Highway One Prescribed Burns Planned for Olema Valley Next Week

Fire Management staff at Point Reyes National Seashore are planning two days of controlled burning next week along Highway One in the Olema Valley. Burning will be postponed if conditions are too wet, dry, or windy, or if the air will not provide good smoke dispersion. The area to be burned is in two units that make up a total of 130 acres on the east side of Highway One, approximately 7 miles south of Olema, between the Randall Trail and Dogtown. These burns are part of a strategy to create fuelbreaks along major road corridors in the park where a wildfire will be easier to control. The target burn rotation for the Highway One burn units is every other year to reduce the invasive French broom population and maintain open grasslands in between large areas of dense forest on Bolinas Ridge and Inverness Ridge.

No road or trail closures are anticipated, however, there may be short traffic delays along Highway One while burning is in progress. Additional burning is also planned for Limantour Road and the Estero later this fall. To receive an email when the burn days are confirmed, contact the fire education office at 415-464-5133 or by email.


Jennifer Chapman
Fire Communication and Education Specialist
S.F. Bay Area National Parks

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Celestial happenings abound as the autumnal equinox arrives September 22 and the annual Harvest Moon rises this year on Thursday, September 23. On Wednesday, the equinox officially marks the beginning of autumn with the sun crossing the celestial equator and entering the southern hemisphere of the sky—rising due east and setting due west. In much of North America, the full moon closest to the equinox is called the Harvest Moon because farmers used the extra light to bring in as many crops as they could before winter. Coast Miwok families also gather at this time to honor the ripening acorns, the blessing of the season.

In the quiet weekdays at Bear Valley Visitor Center, we have been watching the Great Blue Heron posted on the fence stalking gophers and the Kule Loklo bobcat napping under the bay trees. Willows along the Earthquake Trail show signs of stripping—the deer used them to sharpen antlers and remove velvet for the current breeding season. Coffee berries are darkening on the shrubs outside—more fall nutrition for critters to bulk up before winter.

Snowy plover nesting season has ended; annual beach limitations are lifted along the Great Beach. The numbers are higher this year—0.77 chicks per male compared to 0.62 in 2009 and 0.42 in 2008—the goal for a sustainable population would be 1 chick per male.

California Coastal Cleanup Day is slated for September 25 at Drakes Beach from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., part of the statewide effort. For more information, the park coordinator is Kim Hawkins at 415-464-5130. Marin County Open Space rangers will be leading a hike on September 25 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. along Bolinas Ridge. Meet at the Randall Trailhead on Highway 1 and then carpool back to the Bolinas Ridge trailhead along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard.

Tree work on Bolinas Ridge has been completed, but crews are removing eucalyptus and dead trees around the Kule Loklo area and park headquarters. Watch for flagging and warning signs in these areas.

Results of last weeks Sand Sculpture Contest have been posted to the park website. Fair weather brought out the largest number of entries in the 29 years of the annual contest, as well as amazing creativity. Stay tuned for photos to be posted in the upcoming weeks.

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A new moon on September 8 rises over some mid-day very high tides. It will be a good time to view the Giacomini wetlands from the Limantour Road wayside.

Thursday, September 9 12:08 p.m. 6.3 feet
Friday, September 10 12:45 p.m. 6.5 feet
Saturday, September 11 1:25 p.m. 6.5 feet

Pepperwood or California Bay trees have small lemony-yellow-lime colored fruits on them—the soft fleshy colored part falls away leaving a brown nut in a few weeks. Oaks have plenty of green acorns which hopefully will have enough sun to ripen. Both are important food for deer, squirrels and other animals.

Fall reminders: The yellowing vines along trails are the Wild Cucumber (or Manroot); they look something like grape vines and have a distinctive spiny green seed pod on the female vines. Poison oak continues to redden along Bear Valley Road.

All park visitor centers are open for the Labor Day weekend holiday and all campgrounds are full including boat sites. It will be a busy weekend with a permit for a 100+ vessel regatta on Tomales Bay/Marshall Beach; expect congestion in that area.

New artwork at the Bear Valley Visitor Center for September and October features nature prints by Shirley Salzman.

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Last updated: February 28, 2015

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Mailing Address:

1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956


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