Trip Number: 13079A
Staff: Elaine Stebler
- Stay in a rustic historic boathouse
- Learn about the area's diverse terrestrial and marine ecosystems
- View elephant seals frolicking in the surf
- All meals and snacks
- All tools
- Instruction on invasive plant removal
Photo: Didi Toaspern
We will be working 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. It is an area
of rich biological diversity due to the variety of habitats and its unique geology.
Here, we'll find rare animals and plants such as tule elk, endangered snowy
plover, and Bishop pine. We’ll likely see many of the nearly 425 bird
species found in the region.
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.
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. The park and nearby areas offer
exciting possibilities for our off days. Our activities might include visiting
the beaches, hiking the wilderness trails, birdwatching, touring the historic
lighthouse, the cheese factory, Pt. Reyes winery, the oyster farm, or the visitor
center. Close to the park headquarters in Bear Valley, we might take an easy
earthquake walk and see how much the ground shifted in the famous 1906 quake.
We might 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.
Travel to and from the boathouse is the responsibility of each participant.
The nearest airports are in Oakland and San Francisco. If you wish to carpool
from the airport, the leader will send you a trip roster, which will allow you
to make arrangements with other participants.
Accommodations and Food
Photo: Richard DiSammartino
We will stay in the park's historic boathouse overlooking Drake's Bay. The
boathouse is equipped with modern conveniences and set up with bunk rooms for
housing. There are no separate rooms for couples. A short distance away is the
historic 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.
Please come with the attitude that food is part of the adventure. We will provide
traditional family-style cuisine. Although some of our dishes will be meat-based,
we will be able to accommodate vegetarians and provide healthy and nutritious
foods. We'll have a group commissary with everyone taking turns in meal preparation.
Before applying for the trip, folks with food allergies or strong preferences
should contact the cook to see if reasonable accommodations can be made. Our
first meal will be dinner on day one and our last meal will be lunch on the
Because this trip does not involve backpacking, it should be considered a
moderate trip. Removing invasive weeds and hiking to the worksite requires that
you be in good physical condition, but we will all work at our own pace. The
weather should be mild, with a chance of fog or rain.
Equipment and Clothing
Photo: Didi Toaspern
The national park will provide all tools for our work project, but you will
need work gloves, sturdy boots, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt. You will
also need a day pack to carry your lunch and water bottles, rain gear, sunscreen,
etc. We will also provide a first-aid kit for emergencies, but you should bring
moleskin, Band-Aids, aspirin, and any medication you personally require. You
will need to bring our own bedding and towels for the boathouse. The leader
will send a complete list of equipment to registered participants.
- The Bear Valley Visitors Center at Point Reyes has trail maps, books, and
- Topo maps are also available from Tom Harrison Maps, 2 Falmouth Cove, San
Rafael, CA 94901-4465; (800) 265-9090; http://www.tomharrisonmaps.com
- Bossard, C.C., J. M. Randall, and M. C. Hoshovsky (Eds.), Invasive Plants
of California Wildlands.
- Blair, R., and K. Goodwin, Point Reyes Visions.
- Griffin, L.M., Saving the Marin-Sonoma Coast.
- Arnot, P., Point Reyes Secret Places and Magic Moments.
- Point Reyes National Seashore: http://www.nps.gov/pore
Photo: Richard DiSammartino
The Sierra Club is an environmentally focused entity. We are concerned about
conservation and sustainability of resources, both locally and globally. Our
work is accomplished by volunteers and aided by a salaried staff, and encourages
grassroots involvement. Our outings seek to empower participants toward greater
understanding, advocacy, and participation in the goals of the Club.
As the title of this trip indicates, 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 Pt. 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.
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.
Elaine Stebler is from Oklahoma where she enjoys country-living on 80 acres, raising much of her own fruits, vegetables, and free-range chicken eggs. She loves being outdoors and exploring new wild and scenic places. She is looking forward to experiencing this coastal environment while meeting new people and working to restore this precious habitat. Elaine hopes to share her enthusiasm for the vast diversity of plants and animals that will likely be seen while working in this beautiful national treasure. Elaine has led or cooked on different type service trips since 1993.
Harriet Dhanak is a very experienced Sierra Club Service Trip leader and the "founding mother" of this Pt Reyes Trip! She's worked on habitat restoration projects with the Club and other groups for over 15 years. When she is not out pulling weeds, you can find Harriet creating world-class lace.
Lelia Heading has been cooking for Service Trips for sixteen years and always enjoys the opportunity to visit new places, cook for hungry workers, and meet great people who dedicate their vacation to improving our public lands. She is looking forward to visiting the coastal climate of this environmentally significant area.
General Notes About Sierra Club Trips