Just 10 miles north of Abalone Bay in Sea Ranch, across the Gualala River is the start of the newest hot spot, Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands. This significant and spectacular 1,665 acres of public lands that stretch along the Mendocino coastline in Northern California is the first shoreline addition to the California Coastal National Monument as proclaimed by President Obama this last March.
Situated along the rugged Mendocino County coastline just north of the town of Point Arena the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands are a unique and spectacular area that includes access to 12 coastal miles of undeveloped federal and state-managed public lands, coastal bluffs, the estuary of the Garcia River, sandy beaches and dunes, and adjacent small islands accessible during low tide. Upon visiting the region, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, declared what we already knew:
“The rugged coastline of Point Arena-Stornetta is simply breathtaking and a deserving addition to the California Coastal National Monument.”
Hot Spot Ranked Third in Places to Go in 2014
|Map of Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands|
The New York Times agrees. It recently ranked the “moody bluffs” of the Mendocino Coastline third in its list of 52 Places to Go in 2014. Bonnie Tsui wrote for the Times:
One hundred and thirty miles north of San Francisco, the moody bluffs of the Mendocino Coast have long been a spectacular place from which to observe marine life: passing humpback whales, sun-happy sea lions, foamy waves strewn with kelp. The incorporation of the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands — nearly 1,300 acres — gives hikers new access to a contiguous 12-mile stretch of coastline and fields of wildflowers, cypress forests and cliff areas (some overlooking dramatic blowholes, pinnacles and sea caves), much of it previously off-limits to the public. And Congressional proposals to include the north coast lands as part of the California Coastal National Monument have been introduced, which would mean better protection and more funds for maintenance; plans also exist to extend the California Coastal Trail through the new preserve.
Mendocino Ready to Show off Its Gem with Post-Hippie Charm
Needless to say the members of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors are thrilled with this designation, calling it a “Big deal” that is sure to provide good exposure to help and encourage more visitors to come see what the region can offer.
Taking a different approach, Alec Scott of the Globe and Mail observes, “the seaside county retains a rough post-hippie charm – both the coast and what’s on shore are more ragged, less manicured than the wine counties of Sonoma and Napa just south of here.”
|Point Arena has 144 steps to the top and is the closest point to Hawaii|
The Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands- A Critical Refuge
While the incorporation of this hot spot, Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands, may not save the world, it provide you a wonderful means to unwind from the stress of the city and your busy life. More importantly, it is one critical step in saving rare, threatened and endangered species and perhaps including coho salmon, steelhead, the Point Arena mountain beaver, and the Behren’s silverspot butterfly, the western snowy plover, and California red-legged frog. The Point Arena-Stornetta lands also provide important habitat for harbor seals, Steller sea lions and an occasional elephant seal, which visitors can catch sight of from the vantage of the terrace’s western bluffs, according to the president’s proclamation. Congressional proposals to include the north coast lands as part of the California Coastal National Monument have been introduced, which would mean better protection and more funds for maintenance; plans also exist to extend the California Coastal Trail through the new preserve.
Activities at Point Arena-Stornetta
There are many ways to experience the spectacular landscape of the Point Arena-Stornetta Unit of the California Coastal National Monument.
- Under interim management rules, people can use the area for daytime activities including wildlife viewing, hiking, bird watching, fishing, picnicking, nature photography and public access to the Mendocino Coast
- Motor vehicles, bicycles, horses, and overnight camping will be prohibited, pending a final management plan. The nearby Stornetta Brothers Ranch buildings and 579 acre agricultural conservation easment are not open to the public.
Have you visited the Mendocino coast lately? What were your favorite hot spots?