Trip Number: 12349A
Staff: Mike McKinney
- Help protect Point Reyes, one of Northern California's most beautiful areas
- Learn about the area's terrestrial and marine ecosystems
- View elephant seals frolicking in the surf
- All meals
- All tools
- Instruction on invasive plant removal
Photo: Didi Toaspern
Please note that the leader has changed from what was originally published. If you
have questions, please
This trip will involve invasive plant removal at Point Reyes National Seashore,
a national park about 35 miles north of San Francisco. The park has a rugged
coastline with blunt headlands, rolling hills, native forests, and freshwater
lakes. The Point Reyes Peninsula sits upon the Pacific Plate, separated from
the "mainland" (the North American Plate) by the San Andreas Fault, and has
been inching northward over geologic time. It is a place of unique and exceptional
beauty on California's coast.
The area has changed little since Sir Francis Drake sailed into what is now
known as Drake's Bay in the summer of 1579 to make repairs on his ship, the
Golden Hind. Here you'll find a variety of animals including Tule elk, endangered
snowy plover, and the rare bishop pine. Close to the park headquarters in Bear
Valley, you can take an easy earthquake walk and see how much the ground shifted
in the famous 1906 quake. We will also get a chance to see the regeneration
of the forests and plants that have occurred since the Mt. Vision fire of 1995,
which only burned out when it reached the ocean.
There are many non-native, invasive plants in Point Reyes. Some of these species were planted by the people who lived in the area, primarily on dairy ranches. Some seeds were carried by the wind or birds. Our task will be to remove as many non-native plants as possible. We will choose the plants to pull based on the season, the severity of the problem, and what is blooming. We will probably remove broom, which is a threat to the native plants and therefore to the animals that depend on the native plants for food and cover. In the past, we have pulled broom (French and Scotch), cape ivy, cape weed, fire weed, gopher weed, New Zealand spinach, European beach grass, ice plant, and many kinds of thistle.
Photo: Didi Toaspern
We will meet at the boathouse on the afternoon of day one. Participants will be given maps of the exact location off Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, which can be reached from Highways 101 or 1, north of San Francisco in Marin County.
We will work four days, and have two days free to explore the area. We'll visit beaches and hike wilderness trails. Point Reyes is a hotbed for birdlife, with nearly 425 species recorded in the region. In addition, the Audubon Ranch is nearby, as are the Napa and Sonoma valleys.
The nearest airports are in Oakland and San Francisco. If you wish to carpool from the airport, you will be sent a trip roster, which will allow you to make arrangements with other participants.
Accommodations and Food
We will stay in the park's historic boathouse, which is equipped with modern conveniences. The boathouse overlooks Drake's Bay, and is a short distance from the lighthouse. Built in 1870, the lighthouse has been fully restored and sits on the coast of a rugged headland. It is closed Tuesday and Wednesday. The boathouse is set up with bunk rooms for housing. There are no separate rooms for couples.
Come with the attitude that food is part of the adventure. We provide healthy, nutritious, vegetarian-friendly meals with a small amount of meat, along with dairy and/or soy products added to ensure proper protein. We have a group commissary with everyone taking turns in food preparation. Before applying for the trip, people with food allergies and/or strong food preferences must contact the cook to see if accommodations are possible.
Photo: Didi Toaspern
Because this trip does not involve backpacking, it is a moderate trip. Removing
invasive weeds can be moderately difficult, but we will all work at our own
pace. There are a few places in the park where we may have to hike to the work
project. The distance is usually one to two miles, and is over relatively flat
ground. The weather should be temperate, with a chance of fog or rain.
Equipment and Clothing
The park will provide equipment, but you will need sturdy boots, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt. You will also need a day pack to carry your lunch and water bottles, raingear, sunscreen, etc.
We will provide food, but you should come with personal eating utensils: a plastic bowl, cup, and spoon to carry with your lunch. We will also provide a first-aid kit for emergencies, but you should bring moleskin, Band-Aids, aspirin, and any medications you personally require.
The leader will provide a complete list of equipment to registered participants.
C.C., J.M. Randall, and M. C. Hoshovsky (Eds.), Invasive Plants of California
- Blair, R.,
and K. Goodwin, Point Reyes Visions.
L.M., Saving the Marin-Sonoma Coast.
- Arnot, P.,
Point Reyes Secret Places and Magic Moments.
The Bear Valley Visitors Center at Point Reyes has trail maps, books, and souvenirs. You can also get a topo map from Tom Harrison Maps, 2 Falmouth Cove, San Rafael, CA 94901-4465; (800) 265-9090; http://www.tomharrisonmaps.com
Photo: Didi Toaspern
This is a conservation trip. The work, information, and talks will all pertain to conserving this area for endangered birds and plants.
You will learn about the continuing efforts by the Sierra Club and other groups
to relieve some of the damage that non-native species have caused. The Club
has worked at Point Reyes since 2001, and we will discuss future conservation
plans for the area. Mitigating invasive plant and animal species will be a continuing
economic problem to work on at the local, state, and national level, and we
will contribute to those efforts on this trip.
You will also learn about the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, which surrounds Point Reyes, protecting the oceanic habitat across the continental shelf.
See the How to Apply for an Outing section for more details on registering for this trip and details
about our Reservation and Cancellation Policy.
The payment of a deposit does not confirm you as a member on the trip. Participants must be approved by the trip leader. After signing up for this trip, you will be sent a confirmation packet containing approval materials (Participant Approval Questionnaire, Medical Form, Liability Release Form). Each applicant (including those on the waitlist) must fill out these forms and promptly mail them to the trip leader. The leader will review the approval materials and notify you of your acceptance in a timely manner.
Mike McKinney enjoys being outdoors and meeting new people. He has hiked extensively in the American West, the Swiss Alps, and along sections
of the Appalachian Trail in Virginia and North Carolina where he resides.
Regan Gill has a degree in Nutritional Sciences from UC Davis. She loves combining delicious food and the great outdoors. She is never happier than on a backpacking trip in the mountains and is looking forward to cooking great meals for everyone on this trip. In real life she works in software development in the San Francisco Bay Area.
General Notes About Sierra Club Trips