Nearly a century ago the National Park Service was created by citizens who believed there are unique places of beauty, wilderness, and history in the United States that belong to all and deserve to be preserved and enjoyed forever.
Point Reyes National Seashore is one of these special places.
Full of majestic scenery and bountiful history, Point Reyes National Seashore is located less than 30 miles north of San Francisco, and encompasses 100 square miles of coastal wilderness providing habitat for an amazing diversity of flora and fauna. As the only federally protected Seashore on the west coast, the park includes 80 miles of undeveloped shoreline, historic pastoral lands, and more than 147 miles of trails that offer access to beaches, wetlands, forests, meadows, historic landmarks, and much more.
Saved from development in the 1960s by forward-thinking individuals, the Seashore was incorporated into the national parks system as a symbol of our coastal heritage that was slipping away to development. Two years after the park was founded, our nonprofit, Point Reyes National Seashore Association (PRNSA), was formed to help assist the park in preserving the park’s extraordinary natural and cultural resources and providing an avenue for people to explore its many educational and recreational opportunities. As the primary nonprofit cooperating association of the park, PRNSA mission is to help the park raise funds to support critical resource preservation projects and manage a series of environmental education programs that seek to engage the public towards environmental stewardship. Through our work we continue to leave a legacy of stewardship and conservation for our magnificent seashore for generations to come.
Since our founding PRNSA has raised millions of dollars to support park projects and environmental education programs that have enhanced visitor experience, protected the park’s resources, improved wildlife habitat and, in many cases, made a profound
difference in people’s lives.
Below are just a few examples of how we support the seashore.
Future Park Stewards: PRNSA helped fund the construction of the Clem Miller
Environmental Education Center where 2,000 children participate annually
in our residential environmental education programs, including our Point Reyes Summer Nature Science and Adventure Camps and our School Program. Thanks to community support we are able to provide 650 scholarships to encourage children and schools in underserved communities to attend our programs at the center. These experiences have helped children build a deeper connection to the natural world and have proven to foster better environmental stewardship among our attendees.
Science-Based Learning: PRNSA collaborates with the Pacific Coast Science
and Learning Center, one of the National Park Service’s 17 research learning
centers, to offer internships that pair high school and college students with
researchers to assist in fieldwork. The internships allow the park to accomplish
critical research and at the same time expose young people to career possibilities
within the park and the field of environmental research. In the future, we will need support to continue this work and assist infrastructure needs at the Tomales Bay Marine Station.
Point Reyes Field Seminars: PRNSA is committed to providing responsible recreation and promoting the many health benefits one can recieve in experiencing nature first hand. Each year we offer hundreds of courses to help people of ages build a deeper connection with natural world and with some of the Bay Area's best naturalists, artists and craftpersons. Our seminars explore themes of natural history, birding, wilderness survival, art, photography, kayaking and more. Recently we have begun to offer custom seminars for group team building, anniversaries and other special occassions. We are always looking for qualified instructors who are willing to donate their time to these educational goals.
Bookstores and Publications: PRNSA operates bookstores at the park’s three
visitor centers, offering visitors a wide selection of natural history and education
materials about the surrounding area. We have also published a series of
informative and affordable Discovering guides that help people get more acquainted with Point Reyes wildflowers, birds, and the history of ranching in the park.
Visitor Center: PRNSA supported the construction of the park's main visitor center at Bear Valley, and home of the new Science on the Sphere program. This center is a destination hotspot and hub of information for the park, where over 2 million visitors a year learn about what to see, weather and trail conditions, pick up camping permits, and view park exhibits.
Volunteerism: In an effort to build park stewardship, PRNSA helps to fund volunteer programs where docents are trained to provide educational information with the public on threatened and endangered species including the Western snowy plovers, tule elk, gray whales and Northern elephant seals. Hundreds of volunteers annually help enhance the experience of park visitors while learning new skills and contributing to an important cause.
Habitat and Trail Restoration: With community support PRNSA raised over 6.2 million dollars to fund coastal wetland habitat restoration at the Giacomini Wetlands located at the southern end of Tomales Bay. PRNSA also assisted park staff in managing the construction phase of the project, the largest restoration project to date in the park, which restored 550-acres coastal wetlands from pasture land back to it traditional state. We continue to fund this ongoing project to improve the water quality and habitats of Tomales Bay for countless native species of wildlife. PRNSA is also developing curriculum to share this success story with school children and the public, and provides kayaking seminars to take in the sights. Another on-going large scale project is dune and trail restoration at Abbotts Lagoon, including a raised boardwalk that has curbed habitat destruction in marshlands along the trail. In the future we will need on-going donations to help us continue to fund large-scale, capital restoration efforts.
Wildlife Protection and Endangered Species Recovery: PRNSA helps fund numerous research, restoration, and monitoring programs that assist park managers in assessing wildlife and threatened and endangered species preservation and recovery efforts. PRNSA support has funded inventory and monitoring, as well as docent-led education efforts for Western snowy plovers, Northern spotted owls, coho salmon and steelhead trout, tule elk and Northern elephant seals. These projects help the park managers understand what the park has, and how to manage those resources best. PRNSA funded docent programs help to carry on the message of stewardship to the public throughout the year.
Preserving Historic Legacies: With community grants we were able to help the park support historic restoration efforts for the last remaining USGS Lifeboat Station left intact along the west coast and located at Chimney Rock. The preservation and restoration efforts are helping to preserve our national maritime history and tours are available on weekends inthe winter. Future funding will be needed to help to restore our lighthouse and other places of historical significance in the park in the coming years.
You can help continue PRNSA's conservation legacy at Point Reyes National Seashore by donating today, or learning about More Ways to Give.
Thank you for giving the gift of Point Reyes!