Park Wavelengths - August 2006


August 29, 2006

Helicopter flights in Olema Valley

An orange 'Dolphin' US Coast Guard helicopter will be flying low over the Olema Valley between Five Brooks and the Bolinas Fairfax Road for the next few days as part of an interagency marijuana removal project. The removal is the second plot of about 20,000 plants; in July a smaller plot of about 2500 was cleared out.

Park rangers from Point Reyes, Golden Gate NRA, the Marin Municipal Water District, and Marin County sheriff staff are working on pulling out the plants; expect congestion along Highway 1 with various vehicles and helicopter traffic. Park biologists will begin assessing damage to habitats and contamination of creeks and ponds due to fertilizers, human waste, and pest control products associated with large scale marijuana growing.

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August 23, 2006

Correction On Deer Management

My mistake - the preferred alternative for the exotic deer management plan is Alternative E not C - again full information at the park website; Loretta Farley, Park Ranger

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August 22, 2006

The new moon on Wednesday, August 23rd brings one of the last daylight tidepooling opportunities until October: -0.1 at 5:41 am; the window suggested is one hour before until one hour afterwards. We are coming out of the "Dog days" of summer. In the southern sky, the brightest star seen is Sirius, Greek for 'glowing' or 'scorcher'. It is the bright 'eye' in the constellation Canis major and thus called the Dog Star. Sirius rises nearer and nearer to the sun at this time of year. The time when they appear to meet is called the conjunction and the ancient Romans called the 20 days before and after that conjunction as 'the Dog Days' with typically warm air temperatures and little wind.

A small humpback whale has been washing up on the Great Beach. It first appeared on North Beach this past weekend, today at South Beach and is being pushed further down the beach by the high tide cycle. You may be able to see it by parking at South Beach and walking towards the Lighthouse; find it by the strong smell!

Monitoring of juvenile coho salmon and steelhead trout in Olema Creek via snorkeling was recently completed with 439 juvenile coho salmon compared to 2153 observed in 2003. The majority of these were seen in the two most upstream pools of the creek. These low numbers of coho are related to the high winter and spring flows which disturbed the creekbeds. The steelhead numbers are healthier - 600 which is about the same as last year. Volunteers are needed to monitor coho salmon in Eastkoot Creek near Bolinas on August 31st and beginning September 12 in Redwood Creek in Muir Woods. Sign up with Michael Reichmuth at (415) 464-5191.

Park visitation spiked up 41.57% in July most likely due to the record hot weather temperatures recorded that month. Overall, visitation is up 6% for the park year which ends September 30.

Labor Day Weekend Update: All park visitor centers are open Sat/Sun/Mon over the holiday weekend.

Marin County has issued a permit for a special event at White House Pool on Saturday, September 2; expect congestion there in the late afternoon from approximately 3:30 until 7:30 pm.

Sunday, September 3 is the annual Sand Sculpture Contest at Drakes Beach! Registration begins at 9:00 am and the judges should be out on the beach by 12:30 with prizes announced at 3:30 pm. Best viewing is usually around 1:00 or so - expect parking congestion!

A permit has been issued for September 2-3-4: a sailing club regatta on Tomales Bay with campers and registration on Marshall Beach (100+).

The exotic deer management plan has been issued for Point Reyes as of Friday, August 18; after public review and input, alternative C [Editor's note: Should read "alternative E"] was chosen - elimination of exotic deer species with contract hunting and contraception. Full information available at the park website

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August 5, 2006

The full moon on August 9th brings some early morning low tides along with the annual Perseid meteor shower on August 12th.

Thursday, August 10 6:22 am -1.0 foot
Friday August 11 7:02 am -0.7 feet
Saturday, August 12 7:42 am -0.1 feet

The Perseid meteor shower will again be tough to see because of a bright gibbous (more than half but less than full) moon. They originate in the constellation Perseus (son of Zeus who killed Medusa and rescued Andromeda) which is in the northeastern sky - in Point Reyes look toward Tomales Bay over Black Mountain. These are bright meteors that often appear to have long tails.

The 4.4 earthquake centered in Glen Ellen last week was recorded by the Bear Valley Visitor Center seismograph and the reading is on display along with readings from the Indonesian quake.

The berries are here! The large Himalaya blackberries are purple and ready to pick along roadsides as well as plenty of huckleberries - the up side to the rainy season. They may be picked in the park for personal use - watch out for poison oak which likes to share the sturdy vines!

Park rangers hosted a delegation of park rangers from Chile who visited Bear Valley Visitor Center and toured the elk reserve.

Permits have been issued for August 9th to a Canadian crew making a film about earthquakes and using the Earthquake Trail area. No parking congestions is anticipated.

What's in the sky? Summer months bring out a lot of activity with helicopters and small planes over the parklands. Small planes are seen flying over the lighthouse area - they are taking pictures of the breeding murre colonies to count the number of birds and look for each years offspring. The orange helicopter may be the US Coast Guard helicopter on a coastline survey; they are based in Alameda and may be seen tracking up Tomales Bay and then around to the Point and back. Other helicopter activity includes gas companies who survey power lines for leaning poles (especially in wooded areas) and clearing trees as well as interagency drug interdiction helicopters permitted to fly over public lands looking for marijuana plantations.

Mark Your Calendars! The annual Sand Sculpture Contest is slated for September 3 at Drakes Beach.

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Last updated: May 27, 2024

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