Bolsa Chica / Huntington
Brochure of Bolsa Chica / Huntington State Beaches (SB) in California. Published by California Department of Parks and Recreation.
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Bolsa Chica & Huntington State Beaches Our Mission The mission of California State Parks is to provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. Bolsa Chica and Huntington State Beaches offer an extraordinary combination of oceanside recreation close to tidal wetlands wildlife. California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact the park at (714) 377-5691. This publication can be made available in alternate formats. Contact email@example.com or call (916) 654-2249. CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS P.O. Box 942896 Sacramento, CA 94296-0001 For information call: (800) 777-0369 (916) 653-6995, outside the U.S. 711, TTY relay service www.parks.ca.gov Discover the many states of California.™ Bolsa Chica State Beach 17851 Pacific Coast Hwy. (714) 377-5691 Huntington Beach, CA 92648 Huntington State Beach 21601 Pacific Coast Hwy. (714) 536-1454 Huntington Beach, CA 92646 www.parks.ca.gov/huntington © 2014 California State Parks Printed on Recycled Paper F lat, sandy expanses at Bolsa Chica and Huntington State Beaches draw hundreds of thousands of visitors year round. Just off Pacific Coast Highway, Bolsa Chica State Beach and Huntington State Beach are both perfect places to surf, sunbathe, watch the sun set, and enjoy a blazing bonfire. Average summer temperatures range in the high 70s, while winter brings slightly cooler mid-60degree weather. Morning fog is common. parks history Native Californians For more than 8,000 years, indigenous people prospered in what is now called Orange County. The inhabitants of the Los Angeles basin between the present-day cities of Topanga and Laguna Beach have come to be called the Tongva and the Kizh. Another group, the Acjachemen, dwelled in coastal villages between northern Los Angeles and San Onofre Creek. Spanish King Carlos III wanted to expand Spain’s presence in Baja California north to Alta California in the mid-1700s. Soldiers and missionaries claimed the native people’s land to establish military presidios, religious missions and villages. Huntington Beach, ca. 1950 The Acjachemen, conscripted into building Mission San Juan Capistrano in 1771 by Franciscan friars and Spanish settlers, were renamed Juaneños; the Tongva and Kizh who built the mission at San Gabriel in 1776 were then called Gabrielinos or Gabrieleños. These tribal groups were forced to abandon their villages and cultural traditions. They were converted to Christianity and labored at such trades as adobe brickmaking and grape growing for the missions. Today, surviving Acjachemen/Juaneño, Tongva/Gabrielino, and Kizh/Gabrieleño native people continue to celebrate their cultures and heritage at local gatherings. Rancho to Subdivision In 1784 Spanish Governor Pedro Fages granted 33 leagues (nearly 114 miles) of this coast to Don Manuel Perez Nieto. Nieto called the land Rancho Las Bolsas (pockets) because its pockets of land were isolated by wetlands and the ocean. Nieto’s brother-inlaw Don Joaquin Ruiz inherited this portion, Rancho La Bolsa Chica — the little pocket. Oil Derricks and Tin Cans A 40-acre housing and commercial development, Pacific City, was built above the beachside bluffs in 1901, in hopes that Pacific City would rival tourist mecca Atlantic City on the East Coast. After railroad tycoon Henry Huntington extended his rail lines south, Pacific City was incorporated as Huntington Beach in 1909. The city’s growth remained slow until Standard Oil Company struck large oil and natural gas reserves on 500 leased acres in 1920; the well was called Bolsa Chica #1. The town’s population tripled, yet many buildings were moved aside for speculative oil drillers sinking wall-to-wall oil derricks. The Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) was completed in 1925, giving motor vehicles access to the oceanside towns. Beach visitors sunbathed alongside oil wells. Some derricks still exist, but as the price of coastal land grew, most wells were capped and the land developed. Huntington State Park was acquired by the State in 1942; it was reclassified as a state beach in 1963. “Tin Can Beach", ca. 1960 Nearby, Post-World War II beachgoers seeking an escape from valley heat pitched canvas tents or shacks and slept on the unfenced sand at Bolsa Chica in the 1940s and ‘50s. The litter left by visitors earned Bolsa Chica the nickname “Tin Can Beach.” Eventually, local residents convinced the State to buy the eyesore; Tin Can Beach became Bolsa Chica State Beach in 1963. The Birth of Surf City USA In 1910, city founder Henry Huntington had hired Hawaiian-born surfer George Freeth, the “father of modern surfing,” to demonstrate the ancient Polynesian art of riding waves on a long wooden board. Heavy Hawaiian surfboards ranged from 10 to 16 feet long. The sport grew more popular in California after Hawaii’s Duke Kahanamoku surfed at Huntington Beach Pier in 1925. The first West Coast Surfing Championship was held here in 1959. Surfing became widespread in the early 1960s, hyped by “surf musicians” such as guitarist Dick Dale and vocalists The Beach Boys, Jan & Dean, and The Surfaris. Surfboards continually evolved to become shorter, lighter and more maneuverable. The sport crested in Huntington Beach, now nicknamed “Surf City USA.” Home to Oil derricks along the coast, ca. 1940 Photo courtesy of Orange County Archives the Surfing Hall of Fame and the International Surfing Museum, the city hosts the weeklong U.S. Open of Surfing — the world’s largest annual surf competition — and other surfing events. recreational George Freeth activities Bolsa Chica and Huntington State Beaches are popular spots for sunbathing, volleyball, water sports and family outings. Anglers catch perch, corbina and croakers. Scheduled summer grunion run events draw crowds for bare-handed fishing. Grunion spawning schedules and fishing license information is available at www.dfg.ca.gov. A paved beachside trail runs for 8.5 miles between Bolsa Chica and Huntington State Beaches, with 3.5-mile Huntington City Beach wedged between them. Camping — Huntington State Beach is for day use only. Bolsa Chica has more than 50 campsites with electric and water hookups for self-contained RVs. Tent camping is not allowed. For RV camping reservations, call (800) 444-7275 or visit www.parks.ca.gov up to seven months in advance. State Beach Lifeguard program Events — The beaches are home to many special events and competitions. For special event or group picnic-site rental reservations, contact (714) 377-9422 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Interpretive Programs — Bolsa Chica State Beach Visitor Center features year-round interpretive displays and exhibits. To view a calendar of Bolsa Chica’s many scheduled programs, visit www.parks.ca.gov/bolsachica. Junior Lifeguard Program Youths 9 to 16 years old who pass a qualifying swim test may participate in California State Parks’ Junior Lifeguard ocean safety and interpretation program. “Junior Guards” practice team-building, leadership and aquatic safety while gaining respect for the environment, for others and for themselves. Junior lifeguards improve their physical health and conditioning as they learn and practice open-water swimming, paddle boarding, body surfing, body boarding, surfing, and open-water lifesaving skills. For a fee, the young people spend four weeks in six-hour daily training sessions, where they also learn first aid and CPR. Tuition assistance may be available. The Huntington State Beach Junior Guards program blends recreation, education, interpretation and competition. To learn more about the Junior Lifeguard program, visit www.hsbjg.com. Aquatic recreation is the primary reason people visit the state’s parks and beaches. In 1950, California State Parks hired former Newport Beach lifeguard Robert Isenor to develop a lifeguard program at Huntington State Beach. Isenor hired and trained 17 seasonal lifeguards, who were spread among 10 towers. One jeep serviced all 10 towers, with no radio or telephone communication ability. The program soon expanded to other state beaches, with San Diego County’s Silver Strand State Beach the next to hire seasonal lifeguards. In 1954, Isenor was appointed as the state’s first lifeguard with peace officer powers. The permanent lifeguard job classification was created in 1956, and Isenor became its first chief, the Aquatic Safety Program Manager. The mid-sixties saw the addition of rescue boats. Surfwatch launched in 1964; shortly afterward, the Sea Ranger rescue boat began patrolling Salton Sea. To better protect visitors to the coast and inland lakes, California State Parks became America’s first agency to train and arm permanent lifeguards, giving them full peace officer status in 1974. Today, Huntington and Bolsa Chica State Beaches have 28 lifeguard towers. Their lifeguards watch over several thousand visitors each day and perform an average of 4,000 rescues each year. Since 1967, when such data was first tracked, California State Lifeguards have rescued nearly 300,000 people. Lifeguards pulling in two or more victims at a time is very common. Seasonal lifeguard tryouts are held at beach parks each March: www.parks.ca.gov/seasonalguardI. First California State Parks lifeguard, Robert Isenor ACCESSIBLE features Bolsa Chica’s visitor center, an 8.5-mile paved beachfront trail along both beaches, parking, RV campsites, picnic tables, outdoor showers and restrooms are accessible. A beach wheelchair is available for loan at both parks, with ramps for sand access. For all accessibility updates, visit http://access.parks.ca.gov. Photo courtesy of Robin Miller natural history Bolsa Chica and Huntington beaches consistently draw prime waves due to the interaction of wind, water, and sand carried by California least tern currents. Surf breaks in shallower water, causing incoming waves to form a desirable curled shape as they crest. Habitats and Wildlife This area’s vegetation was originally native coastal strand. Offshore, Pacific bottlenose dolphins, California sea lions and gray whales cavort in the waves. California round stingrays (Urobatis halleri) also lurk offshore at flat, sandy beach breaks like Bolsa Chica. Stingrays feed in somewhat shallow, calm waters. The gray or mottled brown rays vary in size; stings from their barbs are painful. California round stingray Birders will delight in the variety of local and migratory waterfowl and shorebirds visiting Bolsa Chica and Huntington State Beaches. Once-endangered California brown pelicans skim the shoreline in formation. The parks offer sanctuary to the threatened western snowy plover and the endangered California least tern. Several other tern species visit in the summer to feed offshore; sanderlings, black skimmers and western sandpipers stop over at different times throughout the year. Sand crabs and beach hoppers abound along the shoreline. PLEASE REMEMBER • All natural and cultural features are protected by law and may not be disturbed or removed. • Please pick up and pack out litter. • Fire pits are available first-come, first served. Please do not burn pallets. • Fires may be built only in designated fire pits. Do not leave hot embers; do not bury them in the sand. • Except for service animals, dogs are not allowed on the sand. • Dogs on leash (six-foot maximum) are permitted only on paved areas. • Possession of alcohol is prohibited throughout both parks. • Parking and day-use fees support lifeguard and other beach services. • The beaches are open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Gates close at 9 p.m. daily. WATER SAFETY TIPS • Swim near a lifeguard tower and with a friend — Supervise children closely. Flotation devices are not reliable. • Water use areas — Swimming and surfing zones are separate from each other; check to make sure your activity is taking place in the proper zone. Contact park staff for additional beach safety information. • Rip currents — If you become caught in a rip current, relax, swim parallel to the shore until the pull stops, and then swim back to shore. If you are unable to return to the beach, tread water and signal for assistance. • Avoid spinal injuries — Do not dive headfirst into unfamiliar waters. • Be alert — Never turn your back on the ocean. Sudden waves can sweep you away from shore or tide pool areas. • Avoid stingray barbs at Bolsa Chica by shuffling your feet in the water. If you are stung, hot water breaks down the painful protein that stingrays inject. NEARBY STATE PARKS • Crystal Cove State Park 8471 North Coast Highway (PCH) at Reef Point Drive Laguna Beach 92651 (949) 494-3539 • Doheny State Beach 25300 Dana Point Harbor Drive at Del Obispo Dana Point 92629 (949) 496-6172 to Sunset Beach to Sunset Beach H un t i n g t o n B e a c h Kiosk 14 i Tra l Bike Pacific ch Bike Bea Trail Ch lsa Bo BEACH Pacifi 12 Kiosk Ocean c Ocean 11 0 Oce c Pacifi an lia St gno Ma Park Entrance Kiosk 8 if ic Huntington Beach Pier Coa wy st H Marsh Area 5 Parking Picnic Area Brookhurst Street Restrooms HUNTINGTON RV Camping ti Showers H un 4 Kiosk 16 Surfing 3 Visitor Center S TAT E © 2014 California State Parks Los Angeles SHP LOS ANGELES 605 2 LEAST TERN N AT U R A L P R E S E RV E Long Beach Chino Hills SP 57 55 22 Bolsa Chica SB 1Huntington SB PA FI C 0.5 Miles 0.5 0.75 Kilometers 0 0.125 0.25 0.25 0.5 Miles 0.5 0.75 Km River Ana Santa I 0.25 0 10 Riverside 91 BEACH 1 CLEVELAND hurst Brook t Stree Santa NF 405 Ana Huntington Beach Crystal Cove SP Corona del Mar SB to Huntington State Beach 71 Anaheim 91 405 Chino 60 Pio Pico SHP 110 710 1 0.25 39 Pac Trail 1 Main St l Paved Multi-Use Path Lifeguard Tower Ocean Bike 17 Huntington Beach Major Road Accessible Feature Beach BEACH Av e to 405 ean ike Trai 6 d 1 Freeway gton 18 each B Pacific Huntin S TAT E Legend el St west Golden Oc 7 gton B see detail map Huntin BOLSA CHICA ECOLOGICAL R E S E RV E 20 rfi n ic Park Entrance Ga to cif State Beaches 21 19 0.125 St Park Headquarters 9 1 0 oint 1 Miles 1 Kilometers ng Pa Seap 0.5 0.5 Bolsa Chica and Huntington S TAT E BEACH 0 0.25 10 1 CHICA 0.25 0 see detail map HUNTINGTON 22 BOLSA rA ve 405 Newland St 20 24 23 13 to S TAT E Bike Trail ton 25 CHICA ne vd ting 1 Park Entrance W ar Bl Hun Bolsa Bay BOLSA 1 Huntington Beach 27 ic Kiosk 15 26 a St 21 Ave h er ac 1 39 Be Wa rn 28 to Bolsa Chica Santa Catalina Island C Avalon Laguna Beach 1 Dana Point OC 0 0 EA N 5 10 5 Doheny SB San Clemente SB San Onofre 10 Mi 20 Km Sa 74 CAMP PENDLETON San Onofre SB USMC 5 to San Diego see detail map to Newport Beach nt a A na