Crowning Glories: Celebrating the Landscapes of Point Reyes

We mark Point Reyes National Seashore’s 50th anniversary by looking at the peninsula’s signature habitats through the eyes of five noted authors: Introduction and estero by Jules Evens, outer coast by Claire Peaslee, bishop pine forest by David Rains Wallace, shrublands by Judith Lowry, and grasslands by Greg Sarris.

 

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Point Reyes: Fingers of the Sea

July 01, 2012 by Jules Evens

Dawn. Spring tide. Fog shrouds the estuary. A shore-cast tree trunk–contorted, branching skyward–rests in the shallows. On its twisted branches roost a half-dozen cormorants, some with wings outstretched or akimbo, others standing upright, necks coiled into graceful question marks. That congregation, silhouetted by the morning light, suspended on the rising tide between the pewter sky and the mercurial bay, conjures a prehistoric diorama, a world awaiting sunlight parables.

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Point Reyes: Fidel’s Place

July 01, 2012 by Greg Sarris

Three days after the Indian–I’ll call him Fidel–avenged the assault on his wife and slayed the young rancher who’d committed the horrible deed, the posse of vigilantes pursuing him found him, not near the small settlement of Marshall, but across Tomales Bay on a ridge; and not in a thicket of coyote bush and low-growing fir where he might’ve hidden, but in the middle of an open grassland.

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Point Reyes: On the Edge

July 16, 2012 by Claire Peaslee

You always know essentially where to find it: just aim yourself toward the western horizon, and go. At the road’s end, the trail’s end, the far end of that last dune-trudge or bluff-scramble, it’s there: a great conjunction of land, sky, and sea. North America meets Pacific Ocean.

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Crowning Glories: 50 Years of Point Reyes

July 02, 2012 by Jules Evens

Point Reyes for millennia provided rich habitat to a diversity of plant and animal species. Its discovery and settlement by Europeans and then Americans altered the landscape, but not irretrievably. And thanks to some determined visionaries, the peninsula and its habitats were protected 50 years ago.

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Point Reyes: Renewed by Fire

July 01, 2012 by David Rains Wallace

When I started visiting Point Reyes in the 1970s, the landscape from Limantour Beach up to the crest of Inverness Ridge had a special appeal. I had spent my early childhood in the New England countryside in the 1940s, so vestiges of the pre-Seashore ranching days made me nostalgic–homestead sites, dammed lakes, fence lines, timothy hay growing in old fields. On the other hand, watching the wild ecosystem come back, with its brush rabbits, jackrabbits, quail, hawks, and bobcats, was endlessly fascinating.

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Point Reyes: Taken by Surprise

July 01, 2012 by Judith Larner Lowry

The shrublands of the Point Reyes National Seashore, which include the northern coastal scrub and maritime chaparral, hooked me long ago with their vibrant charms. Found on slopes within the influence of the sea, they hug the land as tightly as a knitted sweater, shrugging off the challenges of wind, salt spray, and fog.

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