10 Inverness Way, PO Box 63, Inverness, California 94937
Point Reyes National Seashore At A Glance
National Seashore is 70,000 acre (283 km²) park preserve located
on the Point Reyes Peninsula in Marin County, California, USA. As a national
seashore, it is maintained by the US National Park Service as a nationally
important nature preserve within which existing agricultural uses are
allowed to continue. Clem Miller, a US Congressman from Marin County wrote
and introduced the bill for the establishment of Point Reyes National
Seashore in 1962 to protect the peninsula from residential development
which was proposed at the time for the slopes above Drake's Bay. Miller's
vision included the continuation of the historic ranching and oyster farming
along with the preservation of the grasslands and open scenic vistas.
The mix of commercial and recreational uses was the reason the area was
designated a National Seashore rather than a National Park. Point Reyes
was one of the locations where the 1980 horror film The Fog was filmed.
The small town of Point Reyes Station, although not actually located on the peninsula, nevertheless provides most services to it, though some services are also available at Inverness on the west shore of Tomales Bay. The even smaller town of Olema, about three miles south of Point Reyes Station, serves as the gateway to the Seashore and its visitor center, located on Bear Valley Road.
Point Reyes National Seashore peninsula includes wild coastal beaches
and headlands, estuaries, and uplands, with a coastline that bears a striking
resemblance to Cape Point, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa. Although parts
of the Seashore are commercially farmed, and parts are under the jurisdiction
of other conservation authorities, the National Park Service provides
signage and seeks to manage visitor impact on the entire peninsula and
virtually all of Tomales Bay. The Seashore also administers the parts
of the Golden Gate National Recreation area, such as the Olema Valley,
that are adjacent to the Seashore.The northernmost part of the peninsula
is maintained as a reserve for tule elk, which are readily seen there.
The preserve is also very rich in raptors and shorebirds.The Point Reyes
Lighthouse attracts whale-watchers looking for the Gray Whale migrating
south in mid-January and north in mid-March. The Point Reyes Lifeboat
Station is a National Historic Landmark. It is the last remaining example
of a rail launched lifeboat station that was common on the Pacific coast.
The Point Reyes National Seashore attracts 2.5 million visitors annually.
Across the parking lot at the Point Reyes National Seashore Bear Valley Visitor's Center is the Earthquake Trail which is is a 0.6 mile loop that runs directly over the San Andreas Fault, deep underground. so that it is possible to stand straddling the fault line. The trail provides descriptions of the fault and the surrounding geology, and there is a fence that was pulled 18 feet apart during the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.
At the western end of the Point Reyes Peninsula is the historic Point Reyes Lighthouse, reached by descending 308 steps. Unlike many lighthouses, that were built high so the light could be seen by ships far out to sea, the Point Reyes lighthouse was built low to get the light below the fog that is so prominent in the area. Nearby is the short Chimney Rock hike, which is noted for its spring wildflower displays.
As befitting a national seashore, Point Reyes offers several beach walks. Limantour Spit winds up on a narrow sandy beach, from which Drakes Beach can be glimpsed across Drakes Bay. North Beach and South Beach are often windswept and wave-pounded. Ocean vistas from higher ground can be seen from the Tomales Point Trail and, to the south, from the Palomarin trailhead at the park's southern entrance outside the town of Bolinas. For backpackers, Point Reyes has four hike-in campgrounds available by reservation.
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