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.

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.

Conference / Classroom
Deck with a view
Full kitchen
Large working / studio space
Multiple bathrooms

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.

Ample working / studio space
Multiple bathrooms

Historic Lifeboat Station at Chimney Rock 

The Point Reyes Lifeboat Station is a National Historic Landmark. It is the last remaining example of a rail-launched lifeboat station that was common on the Pacific coast. Located on Drakes Bay 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.

The ground floor houses the boat bay where a renovated motor boat is located.

The area around the Lifeboat Station is used by the Marine Mammal Center as a release site for rehabilitated wildlife. While staying here some classes are unexpectedly treated to the release of an otter or harbor seal.

Heated sleeping quarters with bunk beds and mattresses for sleeping bags
Two gender-specific bathrooms with hot showers
Fully-equipped kitchen with large fridge and commercial oven and range
Small reading / meeting room

Clem Miller Environmental Education Center

Nestled in a secluded valley two miles from Limantour Beach, the Center is designed as a model of ecological sustainability with composting, recycling, and waste monitoring practices, solar-heated water, and photovoltaic modules providing electricity. Most meals and classroom teachings take place inside the main lodge.

The area was the site of the Laguna Ranch until the late 1930’s when the U.S Army installed roads and barracks during the Cold War. Some of the ranch buildings were kept after purchase by the National Park Service in 1971 and were used by the American Youth Hostel. When the army quonset huts (in use as an environmental education camp since 1972) were torn down in 1986, Point Reyes National Seashore Association raised private funds for the present building and donated it to the National Park Service.

Large dining room
Library / science center
Full commercial kitchen
Bathhouse with hot showers
Dormitory-style cabins with bunk beds and mattresses for sleeping bags (NO heat or electricity)
Wood burning stove in main lodge