Salt Point

Park Brochure

brochure Salt Point - Park Brochure
Our Mission Salt Point State Park 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. Salt Point State Park’s wide-open meadows, thundering surf, brisk ocean breezes and stunning California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact the park at (707) 847-3221. If you need this publication in an alternate format, contact 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 Discover the many states of California.™ Salt Point State Park 25050 Coast Highway 1 Jenner, CA 95450 (707) 847-3221 © 2010 California State Parks (Rev. 2014) views represent Mother Nature at her best. A bout 90 miles north of San Francisco, Salt Point State Park rests majestically on one of several jutting promontories off State Highway 1. This 6,000-acre park — which includes one of California’s first underwater parks — has breathtaking views of offshore rocks, a thundering, boisterous surf and unforgettable sunsets. On California’s north coast, winters are mild and wet, with average temperatures in the low 40s. Cool and foggy summer days average about 64 degrees. Changes in weather are common and frequent. PARK HISTORY Native People The earliest known native residents — the Kashaya Pomo people — occupied an area from just north of Stewarts Point to just south of what is now the Russian River. From the coastline, their lands extended inland about 30 miles. The Kashaya Pomo are expert artisans whose exquisite basketry graces museum collections all over the world. Historians estimate that at the time of the first Spanish contact, the Kashaya Pomo numbered about 1,500 people, occupying several large villages. Summers were spent fishing along the coast; in late fall the Kashaya moved inland to hunt and to reoccupy their winter villages. Over the years, the Kashaya Pomo people have been able to preserve much of their traditional culture. Today many Kashaya descendants occupy a rancheria near Stewarts Point as well as other areas near Fort Ross. Europeans On April 8, 1846, Ernest Rufus received a Mexican land grant for 17,500 acres along the coast. The area, called Rancho German, encompassed the land from about six miles north of Fort Ross to the Gualala River. The southern portion of the rancho included what is now Salt Point Beginning in 1849, the land changed hands several times, becoming the site of several active sawmills from 1853 to 1859. Lumber was shipped on schooners to San Francisco. In 1870, the southern section of Rancho German was sold to Lewis Gerstle and Frederick Funcke to mill tanoak and other hardwoods. They built a hotel in 1872 and surveyed the westernmost section of their ranch to plot a town that Gerstle and Funcke named Louisville. NATURAL HISTORY: INLAND The inland portion of the park features acres of grasslands and forest areas. Northeast of Highway 1, coastal brush and grasslands merge with lush growths of wind-sculpted Bishop pines towering over wild calypso orchids. Mixed evergreens skirt the edges of the second-growth redwoods, descended from trees that were logged in the last two centuries. Douglas-firs stand tall among madrone, tanoak and peaceful meadows. Second-growth redwoods At about 1,000 feet elevation, a large open prairie was once home to elk. At the park’s highest point, a pygmy forest holds stands of smaller cypress, pine and redwoods. Their growth is stunted because of the area’s highly acidic, nutrient-poor soil and a hardpan layer beneath the surface. Similar groves of stunted trees can be found along the coast from Monterey County northward to Mendocino County. Among the native Marine life abounds in the waters off Salt Point. animals, coyotes and Above: bull kelp forest; right: anemone. gray foxes usually hunt at night, while bobcats are more active during the holdfast (a root-like day. Black-tailed deer, raccoons, striped skunks, structure that holds the kelp and several varieties of squirrels, chipmunks to the ocean floor), bull kelp will grow up to and field mice may be seen. Bears, mountain ten inches a day reaching for the sunlight at lions, badgers and porcupines — rarely the surface. After storms, bull kelp can be seen —  occasionally range the area. found piled in large, greenish-yellow mounds The forest, grassland and ocean shore host all over the beach. Visitors might be lucky a wide variety of birds. Look for pelicans, enough to spot a great blue heron fishing from ospreys, woodpeckers and oystercatchers. Be “rafts” of kelp at sea. In August, the water is especially wary of mischievous Steller’s jays dark with the lush kelp forest that provides and ravens, who ravage unattended campsites homes for countless varieties of rockfish and in search of food. marine organisms. From November to January, gray whales pass NATURAL HISTORY: THE COAST through the kelp forests as they migrate south Bull kelp thrives along the coast. In April, to breeding and calving areas along the coast of though the kelp is not yet visible, its growth Baja California. The whales return to summer has already begun. Attaching to rocks with a Photo courtesy of Steve Clabuesch After the sawmills ceased operations in 1876, the land was transitioned to grazing livestock as its primary use. feeding areas in the Bering Sea, heading north between February and April. The Sonoma Coast is famous for its red abalone. This slow-growing mollusk, an important part of the intertidal community, takes about ten years to reach a diameter of seven inches. On the north coast, the rocky tide pools are full of life. Sea stars, mussels, sea urchins and several varieties of tiny young fish lead a precarious existence in these pools. These organisms are so fragile they can easily be destroyed by accident. Many of these creatures can be damaged by even the simple act of turning over a rock and exposing them to the sun. At Gerstle Cove State Marine Reserve, Stewarts Point State Marine Reserve and the Salt Point Marine Conservation Area, no form of marine or intertidal life or artifacts may be collected or disturbed. Only kayaking, underwater photography, and recreational diving are permitted within these designated reserve areas. SANDSTONE AND TAFONI During the mid-1800s, sandstone from Salt Point played a vital role in the construction of the streets and buildings of San Francisco. Along the marine terrace north of Gerstle Cove, visitors can see enormous slabs of quarried sandstone, drill holes and scattered eye bolts left by long-ago stone workers. Tafoni is a natural phenomenon common to the sandstone near the ocean’s edge at Gerstle Cove and Fisk Mill Cove. An Italian word for “cavern,” tafoni refers to a honeycomb-type erosion caused by seasonal wetting and drying of the sandstone, weakening it into pits, knobs, ribs and ridges. RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES Activities at the park include camping, picnicking, fishing, free diving, kayaking, scuba diving, horse riding and hiking. Camping — Camping reservations are strongly advised from March 15 to October 31, especially on weekends. Each site has a fire ring and picnic table with food locker. Drinking water and restrooms are nearby, but no showers or sanitation stations are available. Call (800) 444-7275 to reserve campsites or visit Family Campsites  — The 109 family sites at Salt Point State Park include 30 on the ocean side of the highway at the Gerstle Cove Campground, and 79 on the east side of the highway at the Woodside Campground. Walk-in Campsites  — The 20 walk-in sites in the Woodside Campground do not require reservations, but they are frequently unusable in bad weather. Check at (707) 847-3221 before your trip. The sites are approximately 1⁄3- to 1/2mile from the parking area. No dogs are allowed. Hike/Bike Campsites —Ten hike/bike campsites are behind the ranger office near the Woodside Campground. Group Campground —The group campground, on the ocean side of Highway 1, accommodates a maximum of 40 people and 10 cars. No dogs are allowed. Overflow Camping — A day-use parking lot below Gerstle Cove Campground is available for self-contained vehicles only (no tent camping or open fires). There are no restroom facilities, and you must bring your own drinking water. Fishing — Salt Point is a very good spot for surf fishing. In the Gerstle Cove State Marine Reserve and the Stewarts Point State Marine Reserve, marine life is completely protected. Abalone diving, spearfishing, and rod and reel fishing are permitted elsewhere in the area. Anglers over the age of 16 must carry a valid California fishing license. Diving — Salt Point’s rocky coastline attracts abalone divers. Abalone collection is highly regulated. People taking abalone need a valid California fishing license and abalone report card. Additional rules apply regarding minimum size, daily bag and possession limits, tagging and reporting. For more information on abalone and fishing regulations, contact the Department of Fish and Wildlife or visit Tafoni formations in sandstone Fisk Mill Cove picnic area Picnicking — Fisk Mill Cove, a day-use area with paved parking, picnic tables, upright barbecues, restrooms and drinking water, is shielded from the wind by Bishop pines. For a dramatic view of the Pacific Ocean, take a short walk from the north parking lot to Sentinel Rock’s viewing platform. Stump Beach, one of the few sandy beaches north of Jenner, has some picnic tables near the parking lot and a primitive toilet, but no running water. A ¼-mile trail leads to the beach. Gerstle Cove also has picnic tables, a primitive toilet and a scenic view of the ocean. Trails — The park has more than 20 miles of hiking and equestrian trails — visit for details. Mountain bikes are not allowed on single-track trails because they can damage wet trail surfaces. Please stay on the trails to preserve the park’s unspoiled qualities and to avoid contact with ticks and poison oak. Motor vehicles are permitted only on paved roads. PLEASE REMEMBER Fires  — Ground fires and open fires of any kind are not permitted. Use your own off-the-ground barbecue to cook in the campground areas, or you may use the facilities provided. Safely extinguish hot coals in park fire rings. Pets — Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times and are permitted only in the developed areas, except the group campground and walk-in KRUSE RHODODENDRON STATE NATURAL RESERVE Once part of a large sheep ranch owned by the Edward P. Kruse family, the reserve adjoins Salt Point State Park. The ranch, established in 1880, was donated to the people of California in 1933. Beginning in late April, beautiful pink blossoms appear throughout the redwood forest. Three miles of hiking trails lead visitors through this silent, pristine area. Pets and bicycles are not permitted on the trails, and mushroom gathering is prohibited everywhere in the park. campsites. They must be kept in a tent or vehicle at night. Only service dogs are allowed on trails. Horses  — Riders must stay on the trail. Tide Pools — Tide pools are extremely sensitive to any disturbance. As you observe and explore tide pool areas, please watch your step; do not disturb or collect any of their delicate residents. Note — All natural and cultural features are protected by law and may not be disturbed. NEARBY STATE PARKS • Kruse Rhododendron State Natural Reserve, 22.5 miles north of Jenner; take Kruse Ranch Road off Highway 1 (707) 847-3221 or (707) 865-2391 • Fort Ross State Historic Park 12 miles north of Jenner on Highway 1 (707) 847-3286 or (707) 865-2391 • Sonoma Coast State Park, Off Highway 1, just north of Bodega Bay (707) 875-3483 Photo by Robert Potts © California Academy of Sciences ACCESSIBLE FEATURES Accessibility is continually improving in California State Parks. Some picnic areas have accessible tables. The Salt Point Trail is accessible for one-tenth of a mile along the coastal bluffs. The Gerstle Cove day-use area has accessible parking and an accessible restroom. Accessibility updates may be viewed at Pacific rhododendron 900 Sou th 80 0 Fo 70 0 rk 600 Gu 500 40 70 80 ala la 0 0 Ri 0 0 ver 900 900 80 60 50 0 0 600 to Gualala 70 100 0 0 500 400 30 20 0 0 S A LT P O I N T 0 S TAT E 1 0 0 0 80 70 0 90 ch 0 dm an G ul ch Ca KRUSE RHODODENDRON S T AT E e es N AT U R A L in Ch R E S E RV E Reserve Entrance Fisk Mill Cove P Sentinel Rock Viewing Platform nc h Kruse Ra P Ro se Phillip ne i 1.0 Tra il ad Gu lch P Ch s a Tr Gulch Kruse nch Ro 0 0 Plantation ad r Restrooms p les um m i 700 1.5 Ri r ve Tra i l les C en tr a Trail l le ile s 90 0 70 0 CI FI C OC EA Point Reyes N Farallon Islands 0 0 10 10 20 20 Mi 30 Km Muir Woods NM 101 San Pablo Bay Mt. Tamalpais SP Wi Tr a 0 South at ldc 1.3 m iles S A LT P O I N T S TAT E il PA R K 500 200 10 Napa 37 Samuel P. Taylor SP 0 Petaluma ne i Point Reyes NS PA 12 1 rli m Bodega Bay 50 we 5 Sonoma Coast SP Po Lake Berryessa 29 Annadel SP 1 South Gerstle Point Sugarloaf Ridge SP Santa Rosa 60 GERSTLE COVE Gerstle S TAT E Cove M A R IN E R E S E RV E 0. 116 0 k 80 Cree P Salt Point SP & HealdsburgSNR Kruse Rhododendron Jenner 300 400 0 Ocean Cove P A C I F I C Suisun Bay St o O 80 24 C E A N Petaluma SAN FRANCISCO 880 0 PRAIRIE P P Fort Ross SHP 100 Trail 0.3 mi see detail map Visitor Center Salt Point 900 Prairie C 600 700 800 mi m P 90 0 80 0 7 60 00 50 0 0 For k 1.1 i 2 Park Entrances 0 e 1.4 ntral mi Trail les il m k Water Tanks ra kT 3 1. Cree n 0.3 0. il Tra rre rth il 0. int Wa ry er leb ck rail Hu T mi Po 0.9 mile C O N S E R V AT I O N AREA rth an rT ate i W 2m No ail il Tra No PYGMY FOREST th a l ala 80 900 100 0 Salt MARINE 500 P la 1. ntat i 0 m on T ile ra 600 0 North Tr Horse Staging Area 600 Parking Picnic Area k Cree P S T AT E 0 Gu St 0 Mille il Tra a ch S A LT POINT 70 Sou Be 0 10 Hike/Bike Campground Ranger Station 50 40 20 Group Campground 600 iles 30 State Natural Reserve Ra 700 1.0 mile State Park Stump Beach Cove Campground 800 il 1 Kruse Rhododendron Accessible Feature Lake Oliver le mi h Phillip s G ulc 2m Salt Point Marine Reserve Area Gulch S T AT E MARINE R E S E RV E Marine Conservation Area Lower Lake 900 S T E WA R T S POINT Trail Distance Accessible Trail 0 ul nn G 80 kT rail Hiking Trail 0.5 mi Tra il oc (No Bikes) 00 eR Multi-Use Trail • Large rogue waves can sweep you out to sea during ALL seasons and ocean conditions. • Bluff- and ocean-related deaths are common. • The water is very cold, swift and unforgiving. 11 ac Unpaved Road • Stay back from bluff edges. a on Gr Paved Road 00 De Major Road 10 Horseshoe Point Legend STAY ALIVE! STAY ALERT! • Check in with lifeguard or ranger if you are unsure about diving conditions. 0 50 60 PA R K 40 Horseshoe Cove 0.1 mil 2 e 10 0 0.25 0.5 0.75 1 Mile 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 Kilometers 1 © 2010 California State Parks (Rev. 2014) Map by Eureka Cartography, Berkeley, CA This park receives support in part through a nonprofit organization. For conservancy information, contact: Fort Ross Conservancy, 19005 Highway 1, Jenner, CA 95450 (707) 847-3437 • to Jenner (18 miles) ck ho ff Cr ee k 50 0 11 0 100 0 0

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