Park Wavelengths - February 2011


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Subject: Annual Seal Protections

Tuesday, March 1st begins the annual seal protection closure measures at Point Reyes National Seashore. Drakes Estero and South Blue Gums Beach on Tomales Bay are closed to boating/landing through June 30. The protective closures allow harbor seals to deliver their pups and rest. Often a parent may go off to forage in the water and leave their pup unattended on shore—the parents will return! Do not try to pick up an animal or wrap it in blankets; pass on sightings to park staff at the visitor centers.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A new moon rises Friday, March 4 with a regular rhythm of tides fluctuating about 4 feet; no dramatic highs or lows until the spring equinox in March. Jupiter is the bright planet seen over Inverness Ridge as you descend into Olema Valley in the early evenings.

Northern elephant seals are at the most active time of the year! Chimney Rock is excellent viewing: silvery gray weaned pups are moving away from the breeding action into pods on the west side of the colony; males of all sizes and shapes are wrestling and sparring, and swimming offshore and blowing bubbles. The overall annual numbers are declining as more and more females return to sea. There was plenty of sand-flipping in the warmer temperatures last week to cool off.

Spring teasers: the Great Blue Heron is back hunting gophers at the Bear Valley picnic area; a Douglas iris poked up at Chimney Rock; cottontail bunnies scooting across the Earthquake Trail; lots of Milkmaids in the shade of Bear Valley Trail. Plenty of tiny white flower spikes on wild cucumber vines are also appearing. Rough-skinned newt newts with orange bellies are also in shady moist areas along Bear Valley Trail.

Backhoes in the fields near the old radio station off Sir Francis Drake are part of the coastal dune restoration project. They are removing European beachgrass and creating better habitat for snowy plovers.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Prize winning entries from the California Coastal Art & Poetry Contest are on display at the Bear Valley Visitor Center. Poetry includes the following poem by 3rd grader Jonathan Cole of San Francisco:

Bumpy seastars cling
Tickly hermit crabs dance
Cold, wet, filled with life.

Daylight low tides return on Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 14 2:20 p.m. -0.2 feet
Tuesday, February 15 3:00 p.m. -0.6 feet
Wednesday, February 16 3:40 p.m. -0.7 feet

Agate Beach County Park at the end of Elm and Overlook in Bolinas is a low, flat, shale reef that is good for tidepooling!

Pupping season is about over at the northern elephant seal colony; pups are still nursing. This year, the Drakes Beach colony of females and pups was much larger than the original outer peninsula group. As the pupping season ends, mating season begins, so watch for more sparring and activity among males! The southern migration of gray whales is tapering off but both minke whales and harbor porpoises have been making regular appearances at the Lighthouse.

West Marin continues its own spring season with the first daffodils appearing along Coast Trail in the old flower farm area and petite pink bells flowering on manzanita shrubs! This shrub is called "eye" by Coast Miwok who used the wood for arrowmaking; Spanish saw the small red berries and called it "little apples" or manzanita. Marin County Parks and Open Space rangers lead a walk to look for early flowers at Chimney Rock on Wednesday, February 16 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Meet at the Chimney Rock parking lot.

Would you like to learn more about mushrooms? The Red Barn Conference Room at Bear Valley will have a display of labeled mushrooms on Saturday, February 12 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. as part of the annual Point Reyes Fungus Fair. Free and open to the public.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Forwarded to Park Wavelengths Email List

Point Reyes National Seashore News Release

January 31, 2011
For Immediate Release

Contact: Melanie Gunn, 415–464–5131, email

Public Comments and Summary Report Now Available for the Drakes Bay Oyster Company Special Use Permit Environmental Impact Statement

Point Reyes Station – The National Park Service (NPS) has released the Public Comment Analysis Report for the Drakes Bay Oyster Company Special Use Permit Environmental Impact Statement. The report presents analysis and summary of public comment, and includes more than 4,000 pieces of correspondence submitted during the 50 day comment period. The Public Comment Analysis Report, all correspondence received during the scoping period, and additional information on the Drakes Bay Oyster Company Special Use Permit Environmental Impact Statement can be found at the park website.

In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the NPS is developing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate potential issuance of a Special Use Permit (SUP) for commercial oyster operations within Drakes Estero for a period of 10 years. The existing Reservation of Use and Occupancy and associated SUP held by Drakes Bay Oyster Company (DBOC) expires in November 2012.

Point Reyes National Seashore held a 50 day public scoping period for the DBOC SUP EIS from October 8, 2010 to November 26, 2010. During this time, two public scoping open house meetings were held in Marin County and one in the East Bay. The public was encouraged to submit comments at the public meetings, by postal mail, and through the NPS's Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website.

The Public Comment Analysis Report describes the public scoping process for the EIS and presents the analysis and summary of public comments received. This summary is used by the NPS—along with other relevant law, policy, planning documents, and scientific literature—to determine the scope of the EIS.


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Last updated: February 28, 2015

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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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