Jug Handle State Natural Reserve

Last updated
Jug Handle State Natural Reserve
Jug Handle Beach.jpg
Jug Handle Beach with visible headlands prairie, Sitka Spruce and Grand Fir krummholz, and stands of Bishop Pine
Relief map of California.png
Red pog.svg
Usa edcp relief location map.png
Red pog.svg
Location Mendocino County, California, United States
Nearest city Fort Bragg, California
Coordinates 39°22′31″N123°48′37″W / 39.37528°N 123.81028°W / 39.37528; -123.81028 Coordinates: 39°22′31″N123°48′37″W / 39.37528°N 123.81028°W / 39.37528; -123.81028
Area776 acres (314 ha)
Established1976
Governing body California Department of Parks and Recreation

Jug Handle State Natural Reserve is a state park unit of California, United States, preserving a series of marine terraces each exhibiting a different stage of ecological succession. [1] It is located on California State Route 1 north of the village of Caspar, five miles (8 km) equidistant between the towns of Mendocino and Fort Bragg. The 776-acre (314 ha) park was established in 1976. [2]

Contents

Natural history

The reserve encompasses five marine terraces along the Pacific coast, cut by wave action over millennia as the sea level fluctuated and the land underwent tectonic uplift. Each terrace has been above water about 100,000 years longer than the level below it. Consequently, each terrace contains a different plant community, with each level showing 100,000 years of progression through the stages of ecological succession. [1] The lowest terrace supports prairie, the second bears a redwood forest, and the third exhibits a unique pygmy forest of 5-to-10-foot-tall (1.5 to 3.0 m) cypresses and pines and dwarfed shrubs of rhododendron, manzanita, and huckleberry. [3] In 1969, the pygmy forest was designated as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service. [4] The Ecological Staircase is a 2.5-mile (4.0 km) trail which traverses these three terraces from the coast to inland. According to the California Department of Parks and Recreation, "few places on earth display a more complete record of ecological succession." [1] While marine terraces formed along much of the California coast, erosion has rendered them indistinct except in rare places like Jug Handle State Natural Reserve. [3]

Along upper Jug Handle Creek are some sphagnum bogs containing mosses and insectivorous sundews. [3]

Cultural history

The park is named after Jug Handle Creek, which runs through it; the name "Jug Handle" is also sometimes spelled as a single word, and comes from the shape of a bend in the old road across the creek. [5] California State Route 1 now crosses the creek on a concrete open-spandrel deck arch bridge, built in 1938. [6]

In the 1960s, the Jug Handle area was threatened with logging and real estate development. [7] Conservationist John Olmsted worked extensively with pedologist Hans Jenny and local activists to preserve the farmhouse and the bluffs between 1968 and 1972, ending in a landmark lawsuit, Burger v. Mendocino Board of Supervisors, involving the Pacific Holiday Lodge corporation, who had planned a motel on the bluffs overlooking the beach. [8] The success was solidified by another case, Friends of Mammoth v. Board of Supervisors .

Jug Handle State Natural Reserve was one of 70 California state parks proposed for closure by July 2012, owing to the 2008–12 California budget crisis. Alden Olmsted, son of John Olmsted, spearheaded fundraising efforts, placing donation buckets at businesses throughout the region. The $9,500 raised, plus a matching donation from the California State Parks Foundation, will fund maintenance services at the reserve into 2013. [9]

See also

Related Research Articles

Mendocino County, California County in California, United States

Mendocino County is a county located on the North Coast of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2020 census, the population was 91,601. The county seat is Ukiah.

Año Nuevo State Park State park in California

Año Nuevo State Park is a state park of California, United States, encompassing Año Nuevo Island and Año Nuevo Point, which are known for their pinniped rookeries. Located in San Mateo County, the low, rocky, windswept point juts out into the Pacific Ocean about 55 miles (89 km) south of San Francisco and the Golden Gate. Año Nuevo State Natural Reserve, formerly a separate unit of the California state park system, was merged into Año Nuevo State Park in October 2008. The coastal geographic center, or coastal-midpoint of California is located at the Northern end of this park at N 37°09′58″, W 122°21'40", as the absolute geographic center of California falls at N 37°09′58″, W 119°26′58″W.

Mendocino National Forest The only national forest in California without a major paved road entering it.

The Mendocino National Forest is located in the Coastal Mountain Range in northwestern California and comprises 913,306 acres (3,696 km2). It is the only national forest in the state of California without a major paved road entering it. There are a variety of recreational opportunities — camping, hiking, mountain biking, paragliding, backpacking, boating, fishing, hunting, nature study, photography, and off-highway vehicle travel.

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve Marine reserve in California on the Pacific Ocean

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is a marine reserve in California on the Pacific Ocean, located just north of Pillar Point Harbor and Mavericks in the San Mateo County community of Moss Beach. Moss Beach is located approximately 20 miles (32 km) south of San Francisco and 50 miles (80 km) north of Santa Cruz. The reserve is a 32-acre (0.13 km2) holding which extends from Montara light station at the north to Pillar Point on the south. The reserve consists of a three-mile stretch of beach, tidepool habitat, marsh, erosive bluffs, clifftop trail and cypress and eucalyptus forests. The property is owned by the State of California and managed by San Mateo County as a county park and nature preserve. The reserve is administratively assigned to be part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Adjacent to and possibly within the reserve is an endangered species of butterfly, the San Bruno elfin butterfly.

Hans Jenny was a Swiss-born soil scientist and expert on pedology, particularly the processes of soil formation. He served as 1949 President of the Soil Science Society of America.

Goat Rock Beach

Goat Rock Beach is a sand beach in northwestern Sonoma County, California, United States. This landform is a sub-unit of Sonoma Coast State Beach, owned and managed by the State of California. At the northern terminus of Goat Rock Beach is the mouth of the Russian River, and the southern end of this crescent shaped expanse is the massive Goat Rock, an iconic outcrop of the Sonoma Coast, which is barely attached to the mainland by a narrow isthmus.

Northern California coastal forests Temperate coniferous forests ecoregion in northern California and southwestern Oregon

The Northern California coastal forests are a temperate coniferous forests ecoregion of coastal Northern California and southwestern Oregon.

Van Damme State Park State park in California, United States

Van Damme State Park is a public beach consisting of about 1,831 acres (7.41 km2) of land in Mendocino County, California, near the town of Little River on State Route 1. It was named for Charles Van Damme (1881–1934), who was born in the area and purchased the land that is now the park with profits from a San Francisco ferry business. On his death, the property became part of the California state park system.

University of California Natural Reserve System Network of nature reserves in California

The University of California Natural Reserve System (UCNRS) is a system of protected areas throughout California.

Big River (California) River in Mendocino County, California (USA), south of Mendocino Village

The Big River is a 41.7-mile-long (67.1 km) river in Mendocino County, California, that flows from the northern California Coast Range to the Pacific Ocean at Mendocino, Mendocino County, California. From the mouth, brackish waters extend 8 miles (13 km) upstream, forming the longest undeveloped estuary in the state.

Dwarf forest Type of forest ecosystem

Dwarf forest, elfin forest, or pygmy forest is an uncommon ecosystem featuring miniature trees, inhabited by small species of fauna such as rodents and lizards. They are usually located at high elevations, under conditions of sufficient air humidity but poor soil. There are two main dwarf forest ecosystem types, involving different species and environmental characteristics: coastal temperate and montane tropical regions. Temperate coastal dwarf forest is common for parts of Southern California. Montane tropical forests are found across tropical highlands of Central America, northern South America and Southeast Asia. There are also other isolated examples of dwarf forests scattered across the world, while the largest dwarf forest is found in the Philippines.

Salt Point State Park State park in California, United States

Salt Point State Park is a state park in Sonoma County, California, United States. The park covers 6,000 acres (2,428 ha) on the coast of Northern California, with 20 miles (32 km) of hiking trails and over 6 miles (9.7 km) of a rough rocky coast line including Salt Point which protrudes into the Pacific Ocean. The park also features the first underwater preserves in California. The constant impact of the waves forms the rocks into many different shapes. These rocks continue underwater providing a wide variety of habitats for marine organisms. The activities at Salt Point include hiking, camping, fishing, scuba diving and many others. The weather is cool with fog and cold winds, even during the summer.

Mendocino Headlands State Park Park in Mendocino, California

Mendocino Headlands State Park is a California State Park in Mendocino, California. It consists of 347 acres (1.4 km2) of undeveloped seaside bluffs and islets surrounding the town of Mendocino, two beaches, and the much larger Big River Unit stretching for eight miles (13 km) along both banks of the nearby Big River.

Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve

Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve is a 1,323-acre state-owned park located in the Coastal Range in Mendocino County, California, United States. The Reserve occupies the headwaters of Montgomery Creek, a tributary of Big River, which flows into the Pacific Ocean at Mendocino Headlands State Park. The virgin groves of Coast Redwood in Montgomery Woods are examples of a now rare upland riparian meadow habitat; most other preserved redwood groves are on broad alluvial plains. The Reserve is accessed from a parking area along Orr Springs Road 13 miles (21 km) west of Ukiah, California, or 15 miles (24 km) east of Comptche, California. A moderately steep trail from the parking area climbs uphill along Montgomery Creek about three-quarters of a mile. Once in the grove, the trail makes a meandering three mile (5 km) loop, with substantial use of boardwalks to protect the fragile forest floor. The reserve was initiated by a 9-acre donation from Robert T. Orr in 1945, with 765 acres donated since 1947 by the Save the Redwoods League.

The 3,848 acres (6.013 sq mi) Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve located in the southern region of Big Sur, California is owned by the University of California Natural Reserve System. It is located off State Route 1 in 50 miles (80 km) south of Monterey and adjacent to the Big Creek State Marine Reserve and Big Creek State Marine Conservation Area. It is open to the general public one day a year.

The Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest is a 1,016,204 acres (4,112.43 km2) reserve of current and former forest in Minnesota's Driftless Area. Only 45,000 acres (180 km2) of the land is state owned, with the remainder owned by private individuals and community groups, governed by easements. Non-contiguous units are spread over seven counties, generally in areas just west of the Mississippi River, but extending much further west into the valleys of the Root and Zumbro Rivers.

Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve Ecological research site in Minnesota

The Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve is an ecological research site located primarily in East Bethel, Minnesota in the counties of Anoka and Isanti on the northern edge of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area.

California coastal sage and chaparral Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub ecoregion in Mexico and the United States

The California coastal sage and chaparral is a Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub ecoregion located in southwestern California and northwestern Baja California (Mexico). It is part of the larger California chaparral and woodlands ecoregion.

John Olmsted (naturalist) American conservationist

John D. Olmsted was a California naturalist and conservationist most famous for creating the Independence Trail in Nevada City, California, as well as helping to save numerous other parcels across California, including Jug Handle State Natural Reserve in Casper, California, Goat Mountain in the Berryessa Snow Mountain Wilderness and the Bridgeport Covered Bridge. His efforts and vision of a park at Bridgeport led to the creation of the South Yuba River State Park, a 39-mile (63 km) length of Nationally protected Wild and Scenic land along the South Yuba River in Nevada County, California. Olmsted patterned his life after that of fellow environmentalist John Muir, with his trademark beard, formal clothing, and poetic and spiritual leanings towards the benefits of time spent in nature.

References

  1. 1 2 3 "Jug Handle SNR". California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-07-10.
  2. "California State Park System Statistical Report: Fiscal Year 2009/10" (PDF). California State Parks: 22. Retrieved 2012-07-10.{{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. 1 2 3 McKinney, John. "Jug Handle Ecological Staircase Trail". Day Hiker's Guide to California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-07-10.
  4. "National Natural Landmarks - National Natural Landmarks (U.S. National Park Service)". www.nps.gov. Retrieved 2019-04-14. Year designated: 1969
  5. Gudde, Erwin Gustav (1960), California Place Names: The Origin and Etymology of Current Geographical Names, University of California Press, p. 159.
  6. Jug Handle Creek Bridge, Bridgehunter.com, retrieved 2013-12-25.
  7. "Ecological Staircase". Jughandle Creek Farm and Nature Center. Retrieved 2012-07-10.
  8. "Burger v. County of Mendocino". Reported CEQA Cases. State of California. 1975-02-14. Archived from the original on 2013-01-04. Retrieved 2012-07-10.
  9. Kovner, Guy (2012-03-16). "$19,000 donation keeps Jug Handle State Natural Reserve open a year". Press Democrat. Santa Rosa, Calif.