Park Wavelengths - October 2010


Monday, October 25, 2010

Forwarded to Park Wavelengths Subscribers:

Subject: Upcoming Public Meetings on Drakes Bay Oyster Company Special Use Permit Environmental Impact Statement

The National Park Service is beginning the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act to evaluate a potential issuance of a Special Use Permit for commercial oyster operations within Drakes Estero at Point Reyes National Seashore.

The National Park Service will be hosting three public meetings this week during the initial scoping phase of the Drakes Bay Oyster Company Special Use Permit Environmental Impact Statement. We know that some folks will be expecting a public hearing and presentation format, however, these meetings will be self-guided informational poster sessions, with comment stations, opportunities to ask questions, as well as areas to submit written comments. We have found this format works well because it is a neutral environment and allows the quieter voices to be heard. It is critical that everybody who wants to be able to give the park feedback is able to do so. Our goal is to be as inclusive as possible.

All meetings will be identical in open house style format and are scheduled at the following locations:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010, 6 p.m.–8 p.m.
Dance Palace Community Center
503 B Street
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

Wednesday, October 27, 2010, 6 p.m.–8 p.m.
Multi-Purpose Room, Bay Model Visitor Center
2100 Bridgeway
Sausalito, CA 94965

Thursday, October 28, 2010, 6 p.m.–8 p.m.
Community Room, REI Berkeley
1338 San Pablo Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94702

If folks cannot attend one of the public scoping meetings or would like to provide comment in another form, they can still participate online or in writing. The preferred method for submitting comments is via the internet through the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment site at From the main page, click on the Drakes Bay Oyster Company Special Use Permit EIS link, then on the "Open for Comment" link, and then follow the directions to comment. Comments may also be mailed or hand delivered to

DBOC SUP EIS c/o Superintendent
Point Reyes National Seashore
1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

Please see our Drakes Bay Oyster Company Special Use Permit Environmental Impact Statement for more details on the environmental review process.Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


Melanie Gunn
Outreach Coordinator/Volunteers-In-Parks (VIP) Program Manager
Division of Interpretation and Resource Education
Point Reyes National Seashore
1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
(415) 464-5131

Top of Page


Monday, October 25, 2010

A rising new moon on November 5 brings a period of mid-morning extra high tides, followed by minus tides just after sundown; peak mornings are Friday and Saturday. The annual winter ocean process of removing sand from beaches and the exposures of shipwrecks begins with these high winter tides.

Thursday, November 4 9:38 a.m. 6.6 feet
Friday, November 5 10:10 a.m. 6.7 feet
Saturday, November 6 10:31 a.m. 6.7 feet

The Taurid meteor shower may be seen this week as well. Unlike other showers, no particular peak day is noted, but they should be easier to spot this year with no competing moonlight blocking viewing in the evenings.

Friday morning last week, rangers traveling to the Lighthouse saw almost 20 turkey vultures perched along fence posts near the historic cemetery off Sir Francis Drake. Then they saw a flash of golden brown fur as two coyotes pulled and tussled over a meal of a dead buck. On the return trip at 5:30 p.m., the coyotes were gone and the vultures had settled in for the second course.

Rainfall over the weekend brings our annual reminder about reporting downed trees. Trail crews need the following information for the speediest response:

a) location with cross trails/roads;
b) diameter and type of tree (i.e., a 12 inch bay, fir, etc.);
c) whether a hiker can get by or if it is blocking a horse.

Reports can be given to park visitor centers or dispatch (415-464-5170).

All park visitor centers will be open on Thursday, November 11 for the Veterans Day Holiday and staff will be on regular patrol.

Top of Page


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Forwarded to Park Wavelengths Subscribers:

S.F. Bay Area National Parks
Fire Management News

October 15, 2010
For Immediate Release
Jennifer Chapman 415-464-5133

Estero Prescribed Fire to Control Scotch Broom -- Week of October 18

Fire management staff at Point Reyes National Seashore plan to burn 20 acres on N Ranch near Drakes Estero next week. Burning is scheduled for Thursday, October 21, but the date could change based on weather conditions. Firefighters from the National Park Service and several local fire agencies will conduct the burn from approximately 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., followed by patrol and monitoring to ensure the fire is completely out. The goal of this prescribed fire is to control an infestation of invasive Scotch broom by using fire to reduce the densest part of the infestation, which is in the Estero area and is threatening a large part of the park.

The vegetation in the burn unit is grassland mixed with coastal scrub and Scotch broom. The broom was cut earlier this summer and has been drying out prior to burning. Fire has been used in combination with mowing, cutting and pulling to control Scotch broom in the Estero since 1993. Fire effects monitoring has shown that after a series of five treatments, the broom was significantly reduced. The Scotch broom infestation at Point Reyes National Seashore threatens both the quality of the rangeland in the pastoral zone and the native ecosystem, including 15 rare plant species and several animal species of concern.

No road or trail closures are anticipated during the prescribed fire next week. However, drivers in this area should use extra caution if smoke is present.

A map of the project area can be downloaded from our Current Fire Information page. To receive an email when the burn day is 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
415-464-5133 TEL / 415-663-8132 FAX

Top of Page


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A full moon rises on October 23 and may overwhelm the Orionid meteor shower. The "falling stars"—caused by the dust of Haley's comet—appear to originate in the constellation of Orion. The peak will be on Wednesday and Thursday in the early morning hours.

Sunday, October 17 is the 21st anniversary of the Loma Prieta quake—"yowan-owits" or ground shake in Coast Miwok. Tom Smith, Bodega Coast Miwok, interviewed in the 1930's related how earthquakes are caused by a man lying under the ground, facedown with his arms outstretched who moves his fingers to cause the earth to move. He wants gifts, money, or beads, which are thrown into a fire after a quake. Tom gave three dimes to this man after the 1906 quake. Nicasio Coast Miwok Maria Copa, who was interviewed in the same period, related how earthquakes were caused by a big fish, who lived in the west with Coyote, snapping its tail.

The first of the fall humpback whale sightings along the Great Beach has been reported. What a year with gray whales remaining the whole summer off the Lighthouse! The humpbacks are seen in small groups of three to four. They will stay in place for 30 to 40 minutes with flukes slapping the water and spouting.

Coyote brush is flowering just in time for seed pods to be dispersed by afternoon winds. These low growing shrubs have male flowering bushes (yellow) and female bushes (very pale yellow) and are considered pioneer shrubs. They are often among the first of the chaparral group of plants to grow in open areas or disturbed soils, eventually giving way as trees establish and shade them out.

The fall migration is bringing some unusual birds to the area. Palm warblers have been reported in the Drakes Beach cypress and colorful harlequin ducks in the offshore of Drakes. Unusual bird sightings are shared on the recorded Northern California Audubon line Bird Box (415) 681-7422. The cypress trees are havens in the north area for wandering migrants.

Top of Page


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Forwarded to Park Wavelengths Subscribers:

More Burning in Olema Valley Tomorrow—Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fire management staff at Point Reyes National Seashore plan to burn another 75 acres in the Olema Valley tomorrow, Thursday, October 7, 2010.

The burn unit is located on the east side of Highway One, along the McCurdy Trail, approximately 9 miles south of Olema, below the area known at 13 Curves.

The McCurdy unit was scheduled for burning last fall, but was cancelled due to early rainfall. This year, the weather has created a window of opportunity to complete this work.

Burning operations will be in progress from approximately 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Fire personnel will continue to monitor the burn unit into the early evening to ensure that the fire is completely out.

The McCurdy Trail will be closed for the day, however all other trails in the Olema Valley will be open.

No road closures are anticipated, however, there may be temporary traffic delays along Highway One due to fire equipment along the road.

No major smoke impacts are anticipated, however, drivers should use extra caution if smoke is present.

If the winds are from the southwest as forecasted, some smoke may be detected in the San Geronimo Valley.

The series of controlled burns along Highway One 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.

Last week 110 acres were successfully burned at Strain Hill. Another 18 acres is also planned for this fall near Dogtown.

A map of Highway One burn units is posted on the park website.

For more information, contact fire education specialist Jennifer Chapman, 415-464-5133 or by email.


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

Top of Page


Friday, October 1, 2010

Forwarded to local Park Wavelengths list to assist with birding trips, etc.:

Subject: Upcoming Tree Work

I was notified by the Cultural Resources division that there will be some site clean-up going on at Pierce Point Ranch and the Chief's House at Chimney Rock as follows:

Pierce Point - clean-up of downed branches (no tree cutting) next Tuesday through Friday, October 5–8

Chief's House - same, from Tuesday through Friday, October 12–15

There might be some very slight delays in walking around Pierce Ranch on the Tomales Point Trail as the contractor moves vehicles but that should be it.

John A. Dell'Osso
Chief of Interpretation and Resource Education
Point Reyes National Seashore

Top of Page

Last updated: February 28, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956


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.

Contact Us