The Point Arena Merchants Association has become the newest member of a partnership involving local organizations and communities in the Bureau of Land Management’s California Coastal National Monument.
Merchants Association Director Merita Whatley and BLM Deputy State Director Tom Pogacnik on Sunday signed a memorandum of understanding bringing the association into the California Coastal National Monument Point Arena Gateway committee partnership. It is the first business association in California to become a coastal monument partner.
The signing ceremony occurred during the Rocky Shore Picture Show event at the Arena Theater. The event was part of a community-wide celebration marking the 10th anniversary of the California Coastal National Monument and the larger National Landscape Conservation System, of which the monument is part.
“Partners are a key part of the organization of the California Coastal National Monument,” said BLM Monument Manager Rick Hanks. “Community partners work closely with the BLM and our core partners, California State Parks and the California Department of Fish and Game, to ensure that community interests are represented in efforts to inform the public about the monument and its role in conserving coastal resources and supporting the economic vitality of the region.”
Hanks noted that in signing the partnership pact, monument partners agree to adhere to principles geotourism, which are practices that “sustain or enhance the geographical character of the place being visited—its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.”
The California Coastal National Monument protects more than 20,000 rocks, small islands, pinnacles and exposed reefs that run the length of the California coast, from mean high tide and out 12 nautical miles.
Monument gateways, such as Point Arena, are places where people see and learn about the monument’s importance for seabirds, seals and sea lions, plants and cultural resources. The monument features provide the scenic backdrop that draws tourists to coastal communities.
Point Arena is a city of nearly 500 people on the southern Mendocino Coast. Tourists visit the historic Point Arena Lighthouse, (which is the tallest on the West Coast) a working pier, and merchants who pride themselves on unique character and merchandise.
There are now 10 community partners in the Point Arena Gateway to the coastal monument.