Class Facilities

The PRNSA Field Institute operates classes at many different locations throughout Point Reyes National Seashore. As the primary non-profit partner of the park we provide access to many unique historical facilities for educational programming. These facilities are not open to the general public.

Historic Lifeboat Station at Chimney Rock 

The Point Reyes Lifeboat Station is a National Historic Landmark overlooking beautiful Drakes Bay. It is the last remaining example of a rail-launched lifeboat station that was common on the Pacific coast. Located at Chimney Rock, the Lifeboat Station was built in 1927 by the U.S. Coast Guard and contains the crew’s quarters, a large boat bay, and a marine railway system for launching a 36-foot life boat.

Sleeping & Dining at the Historic Lifeboat Station

Field Institute classes residing at the Lifeboat Station will be treated to the sounds of waves crashing and an abundance of wildlife. Weekend courses start Friday evening and end Sunday afternoon. We have a recommended packing list on each class registration page. To be best prepared we typically encourage participants to bring the equipment they would normally bring when going camping. 

When planning your meals for your weekend class please keep in mind the Lifeboat Station has a full functioning kitchen with all the cookware and silverware you will need for the weekend. Along with ample space in a refrigerator and freezer that you are welcome to use to the fullest. Participants are responsible for their own meals throughout the week, with the exception of dinner Saturday night which is traditionally a potluck amongst participants. A sign up sheet for which is customized and included in each class registration page. For the remaining meals you are welcome to bring ingredients to cook your own meal, or pre-made meals that can be reheated for Saturday breakfast, lunch, and Sunday morning. Time is always made for cooking meals so please feel welcome to cook and enjoy your meal. Please be sure to clean up after yourself, and respect the facility and other participants. 

Parking

Law enforcement officials have restricted parking for participants outside of the Lifeboat Station due to restricted and limited access. Participants are encouraged to drive to the lifeboat station directly upon arrival to check in and unload. Upon checking in you will be given a parking pass that needs to be displayed inside of the vehicle. All vehicles must be parked in the Chimney Rock parking lot overnight. 

Amenities
Ample working / studio space
Large second floor reading / meeting room overlooking Drakes Bay
Seven dormitory-style rooms with bunk beds and mattresses for sleeping bags (NO heat)
Fully-equipped kitchen with large fridge and commercial range/oven
Two large multi person bath/shower rooms
Projector

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ranch House

by James Freed

The Ranch House was built in 1923 by one of San Francisco’s most prominent beer producers prior to Prohibition. After being part of Bear Valley Ranch, it was used by the National Park Service as an employee residence for thirty years.

In 1998, the south wing  became the home for Point Reyes National Seashore Association’s education programs while the east wing houses our offices. The ‘living room’ is now a classroom/conference room and provides an ample working area and a view of Bear Valley.

The Morgan Horse Ranch, located next door, is where the National Park Service trains and houses the horses used in Point Reyes park for trail maintenance, patrol and rescue operations. There are interpretive exhibits at the ranch and the volunteers are happy to answer questions about the horses.

Amenities
Ample working / studio space
Large classroom
Full kitchen
Multiple bathrooms
​Projector
Deck with a view

Red Barn Classroom

Built circa 1870 as part of Bear Valley Ranch, this barn was originally unpainted. In the 1906 earthquake, one corner of the barn moved 16 feet. By 1964, when the Park purchased the ranch, it had acquired its signature red color.

The 2002 renovation was funded by grants and donations acquired by Point Reyes National Seashore Association, and now contains a library and museum collection, offices, a meeting room/classroom for park projects, and for classes and environmental education programs for schools.

Classes at the facility usually begin with a lecture and slide presentation, which may last for most of the day (for photo seminars) or for just an hour or so (for birding and natural history classes). After presenting the lecture, the instructor advises students where in the field to meet.

Amenities

Ample working / studio space
Large classroom
Full kitchen
Multiple bathrooms
Projector