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News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 415

Happy Birthday, California Coastal National Monument!

It was a “rockin’” birthday party.

Point Arena residents and visitors joined BLM staff celebrate the 10th birthday of the California Coastal National Monument -- the first of a series of events to be held in California to mark the 10th anniversary of the National Landscape Conservation System, composed of special public land areas cared for by BLM. The celebration on the Mendocino Coast featured a full day of indoor and outdoor events, complete with a birthday cake reception.

A series of events celebrating NLCS units around the state, including the coastal monument, will be held this year.

The celebration included a birding walk led by David Jensen of the Mendocino Coast Audubon Society, a signing ceremony and video/photo showing at the Arena Theater, a guided nature hike on the Stornetta Public Lands, a tour of historic Point Arena, and a birthday cake reception at the Point Arena Lighthouse.

                A group of people, several with binoculars, look out over the ocean on a foggy day
Above: Bird watching enthusiasts scan the estuary of the Garcia River at the north end of the BLM Stornetta Public Lands in an early morning birding walk. The local Audubon Society chapter, which led the walk, is a collaborative partner in the CCNM Point Arena Gateway.

Overhead view of a man speaking to people in an auditorium
A man and woman lean over a table to sign papers
Above: Rick Hanks, BLM’s California Coastal National Monument manager, addresses the crowd of about 70 at the Arena Theater, top. Later, as Hanks explains the importance of partnerships in managing the monument, BLM Deputy State Director Tom Pogacnik and Merita Whatley of the Point Arena Merchants Association sign a memorandum of understanding making the merchants group the newest coastal monument partner, second photo. The “Rocky Shore Picture Show” event at the historic theater included a screening of Huell Howser’s “California’s Golden Parks: California Coastal National Monument” and a mesmerizing wildlife slide show developed by volunteers of the CCNM Sea Ranch Task Force, which volunteers to monitor monument wildlife.

A man speaks with a group of people on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean
A view of a group atop a bluff shows the steep drop to the ocean below
Above: Steve Cardova, a geology instructor at Mendocino College (second from right in the top photo) discusses the ever-changing geology of the BLM Stornetta Public lands during a guided nature hike attended by more than 30 participants. The group is dwarfed by the expanse of the land the drop of an eroded cliff (second photo).

Several children stand nearest to a birthday cake, among a large assembly of people
Above: CCN Manager Rick Hanks, right, leads a group is a chorus of “Happy Birthday,” during a reception at the Point Arena Lighthouse. A crowd of about 100 enjoyed snacks and birthday cake. The Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers Association waived admission fees for the day-long celebration, providing interpretive tours of the museum and the 115-foot-tall lighthouse tower, tallest on the West Coast.

In remarks at the program at the theater, Rich Burns, BLM Ukiah Field Office manager, pointed out the significance of the event’s date -- 01-10-2010. The event is the first in California celebrating the tenth anniversary of the coastal monument and tenth birthday for the NLCS system. Point Arena was the first city to become a coastal monument gateway partner. The Point Arena Merchants Association and BLM signed an agreement Sunday for the association to become a coastal monument partner, the first business association to do so.

Rick Hanks, coastal monument manager, handed out “Rock Star” awards thanking members of the Point Arena Gateway Committee. Recipients included the California Department of Fish and Game, California State Parks, the city of Point Arena, Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers, Mendocino Coast Audubon Society, Coastwalk California, Mendocino County Historical Society, Moat Creek Managing Agency and Redwood Coast Chamber of Commerce.

The NLCS contains some of the most spectacular landscapes in the West and includes more than 850 sites including, wilderness, national monuments, wild and scenic rivers, and national and historic trails.

For more information, including the schedule of anniversary events, go to our BLM-California home page and follow the “what we do” link.

- Jeff Fontana, BLM Northern California District; Dave Christy, BLM Central California District, 1/12/01

BLM-California News.bytes, issue 415

Last updated: 01-13-2010