|Salt Point State Park|
|Location||Sonoma County, California, USA|
|Area||6,000 acres (2,428 ha)|
|Governing body||California Department of Parks and Recreation|
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.
The rocks of Salt Point are sedimentary sandstone. Due to the large amounts of sandstone, small cave-like features called tafoni can be found along the shore of Salt Point.
This park is named for the formation of salt crystals in the cracks and crevices of the rocky coastline. The native Kashaya Pomo collected salt from this area for many years. They used abalone chisels to scrape the salt off the rocks.
In 1853, Samuel Duncan and Joshua Hendy built a sawmill on a ridge located above Salt Point. A couple of years later, they leased the land to a San Francisco company, which quarried the sandstone. They used the sandstone to create the streets and buildings in San Francisco along with the naval facility at Mare Island. It is also possible to see drill holes in the sandstone at Gerstle Cove and at the marine terrace just north of it. In 1870, Duncan sold his property to Frederick Funcke and Lewis Gerstle. They shipped 5,000 cords of wood yearly and used most of the land to graze their cattle.
The eyebolts used to anchor ships down are still visible at Gerstle cove. This is where sandstone and wood were loaded onto cargo ships. At first, they used wire cables anchored to the cliff side to load wood and stone onto the ships. Two chutes were eventually made; the Miller chute and the Funcke & Co. chute. There was a horse-drawn railroad that lead from the Miller sawmills to where the boats were loaded. The sawmill had a daily capacity of 18,000 board feet (42.48 m3).
Brush and grasslands cover the ground on the marine terraces; at higher elevations (approximately 100 to 300 feet (30 to 91 m) in elevation) Douglas fir forest dominates. At slightly higher staircase levels (about 300 to 500 feet (91 to 152 m)), a mixed fir forest of bishop pine and Douglas-fir is present intermixed with second growth coast redwood, madrones and tanoak. At 1,000 feet (305 m) there is a large open prairie where animals such as elk previously grazed. In addition, at an elevation of about 550 feet (168 m) within Salt Point State Park is a pygmy forest including the Mendocino cypress, bishop pine and Arctostaphylos . The reason these trees do not attain their normal height is due to the highly acidic soils with minimal nutrients and a hardpan layer close to the surface.
The native animals that roam the land include the black-tailed deer, raccoon, coyote, bobcat, gray fox, badger, striped skunk, and dozens of varieties of rodents such as squirrels, chipmunks, and the field mouse. Bears and cougars occasionally range the area, although visitors rarely see them.
The forest, grassland, and ocean shore area host a huge variety of birds, including pelicans, ospreys, woodpeckers (including the pileated woodpecker), and oystercatchers. Steller's jay and ravens are common in unattended campsites in search of food.
During April, kelp is not visible but it has already started to grow. By August, the water is full of dark green seaweed that will provide a habitat for a variety of rockfish and other marine organisms. The coast of Sonoma County is known for its slow-growing red abalone. It takes this abalone 10 years to reach a diameter of 7 inches (180 mm). Between the months of December and April, it is possible to see gray whales migrating south to Baja California for breeding.
Stewarts Point State Marine Reserve & Stewarts Point State Marine Conservation Area, Salt Point State Marine Conservation Area and Gerstle Cove State Marine Reserve adjoin Salt Point State Park. Like underwater parks, these marine protected areas help conserve ocean wildlife and marine ecosystems.
The coast in this park is lined with jagged rocks and steep ocean cliffs. The rocks are shaped and formed by the continuous crashing of the waves. These rocks provide an array of tide pools while the tide is out.
The rocks of Salt Point are sedimentary, mainly sandstone. All of these rocks are tilted, exposing older rocks. The rocks at the north end of the park's coast are younger than the rocks at the southern end. Salt Point is named for the tafoni where the ocean water crystallizes in the honeycomb like crevices. This tafoni is caused when the salt crystals interact with the sandstone making parts of the sandstone harden while other parts soften.
The layers of sedimentary rock show evidence of a deep-sea fan. A deep-sea fan is caused when there is dense, turbulent sediment filled water flowing down a submarine canyon. This highly dense water is called a turbidity current. Something that may cause a turbidity current are earthquakes or storms that create a submarine slide. When this sediment filled water leaves the end of the canyon it spreads out in a fan like shape. The sediment is thinner and thinner the farther away the sediment is from the submarine canyon. All of these layers of sedimentary rock are created thousands of feet below the ocean's surface but now the layers are visible above the surface of the water. This is because the Pacific plate and the North American plate are moving against each other; since the oceanic plate is lower, it is being forced below the continental plate in a process called subduction. While the oceanic plate is being subducted, the continental plate is scraping off the top layers of the oceanic plate slowly bringing them to the surface.
The activities at Salt Point include hiking, camping, fishing, tide pooling, picnicking and scuba diving. There are over 20 miles (32 km) of hiking trails and over sixty camp sites. The hiking trails are throughout the 6,000-acre (2,428 ha) park, and many of them lead to the beach. There are only a few sandy beaches at Salt Point, some with picnic areas with benches and barbecues. Salt Point has one of the first underwater parks in California: Gerstle Cove. Gerstle Cove is protected with no fishing allowed. Only small boats and scuba divers are allowed in Gerstle Cove. Much of the marine life can be viewed while the tide is out. The tide pools provide many different organisms including sea anemones and starfish. Fishing is allowed at the park except for Gerstle Cove. The fish that are available at Salt Point are lingcod, cabezone, rockfish, and greenlings.
Sedimentary rocks are types of rock that are formed by the accumulation or deposition of mineral or organic particles at the Earth's surface, followed by cementation. Sedimentation is the collective name for processes that cause these particles to settle in place. The particles that form a sedimentary rock are called sediment, and may be composed of geological detritus (minerals) or biological detritus. The geological detritus originated from weathering and erosion of existing rocks, or from the solidification of molten lava blobs erupted by volcanoes. The geological detritus is transported to the place of deposition by water, wind, ice or mass movement, which are called agents of denudation. Biological detritus was formed by bodies and parts of dead aquatic organisms, as well as their fecal mass, suspended in water and slowly piling up on the floor of water bodies. Sedimentation may also occur as dissolved minerals precipitate from water solution.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an American national park in the southeastern United States, with parts in Tennessee and North Carolina. The park straddles the ridgeline of the Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are a division of the larger Appalachian Mountain chain. The park contains some of the highest mountains in eastern North America, including Clingmans Dome, Mount Guyot, and Mount Le Conte. The border between the two states runs northeast to southwest through the center of the park. The Appalachian Trail passes through the center of the park on its route from Georgia to Maine. With 12.5 million visitors in 2019, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States.
Gulf Islands National Park Reserve is a national park located on and around the Gulf Islands in British Columbia, Canada. In the National Parks System Plan, this park provides representation of the Strait of Georgia Lowlands natural region, the only place in Canada with a Mediterranean climate of dry, sunny summers and mild, wet winters, the result of a rain shadow effect from surrounding mountains between the region and the ocean. It has similar dominant vegetation as the Pacific Northwest, such as coastal Douglas-fir, western red cedar, shore pine, Pacific dogwood, bigleaf maple, and red alder, but also contains the northern extent of some of the more drought tolerant trees such as Garry oak and Arbutus. The park was created in 2003 as the fortieth national park. It covers 36 square kilometres (14 sq mi) of area on 16 islands and more than 30 islets, reefs and surrounding waters, making it the sixth smallest national park in Canada.
Crystal Cove State Park is a state park of California, United States, encompassing 3.2 miles (5.1 km) of Pacific coastline, inland chaparral canyons, and the Crystal Cove Historic District of beach houses. The park is located in Newport Beach. Crystal Cove is a stretch of coastal cliffs and a beachfront cove situated between the Pacific Coast Highway and the Pacific Ocean just north of Laguna Beach. The 3,936-acre (1,593 ha) park was established in 1979. The entire park hosts a total of 3 miles of beaches and tide pools, a 1,400 acre marine Conservation Area as well as underwater park, 400 acres of bluffs, and 2,400 acres of canyons.
Sonoma Coast State Park is a State of California property in Sonoma County consisting of public access use on lands adjoining the Pacific Ocean. This extent of beach runs from a coastal point about 4 miles (6 km) north of Jenner and continues for approximately 17 miles (27 km) to the south to terminate at Bodega Head. The property lies along State Route 1 and consists of a number of named beaches including Arched Rock Beach, Gleason Beach and Goat Rock Beach. The ecosystem consists of alternating sandy beaches and rocky shoreline, with a marine terrace extending above the entire extent with an upland California coastal prairie habitat.
The San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park spans 6,000 acres (24 km2) of ocean bottom and tidelands. The park's four distinct habitats make it a popular destination for snorkelers and scuba divers. The park was created by the City of San Diego in 1970 and actually has two other parks within it: the "look but don't touch" Ecological Reserve and the Marine Life Refuge.
Haliotis rufescens is a species of very large edible sea snail in the family Haliotidae, the abalones, ormer shells or paua. It is distributed from British Columbia, Canada, to Baja California, Mexico. It is most common in the southern half of its range.
Bottle Cove is located on the west coast of Newfoundland. It opens directly onto the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, although it is typically included in the regional descriptor, "Bay of Islands," which lies at the mouth of the Humber Arm. Bottle Cove is also referred to as Bottle Cove Provincial Park and as Bottle Cove Day Park in official Parks documentation.
Natural Bridges State Marine Reserve (SMR) is a marine protected area located at the northern edge of Santa Cruz, California, approximately 75 miles (121 km) south of San Francisco. The SMR covers 0.58 square miles (1.5 km2). The SMR protects all marine life within its boundaries. Fishing or other removal of any living marine resource is prohibited.
Gerstle Cove State Marine Reserve (SMR) is a marine protected area that lies onshore from Salt Point State Park, within the Salt Point State Marine Conservation Area, in Sonoma County on California’s north central coast. The marine protected area covers 0.1 square miles. Gerstle Cove SMR prohibits the take of all living resources.
Sea Lion Cove State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is a marine protected area that lies onshore, just south of Point Arena in Mendocino County on California’s north central coast. The marine protected area covers 0.22 square miles. Sea Lion Cove SMCA prohibits the commercial and recreational take of invertebrates, algae and other plants, but allows the take of all other species.
Stewarts Point State Marine Reserve (SMR) and Stewarts Point State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) are two adjoining marine protected areas that extend offshore from about a mile south of Black Point to Fisk Mill Cove, in Sonoma County on California’s north central coast. The marine protected areas cover 25.22 square miles. Stewarts Point SMR prohibits the take of all living marine resources. Stewarts Point SMCA prohibits the take of all living marine resources, except recreational shore based take of marine aquatic plants, marine invertebrates, finfish by hook and line, surf smelt by beach net, and species authorized by Title 14 Section 28.80 by hand-held dip net.
Duxbury Reef State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is a marine protected area located about 1 mile (2 km) west of Bolinas in Marin County on California’s north central coast. This marine protected area covers 0.66 square miles (1.7 km2). Duxbury Reef SMCA prohibits the take of all living marine resources, except the recreational take of finfish from shore only and the recreational take of abalone.
Salt Point State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is a marine protected area that lies onshore from Fisk Mill Cove and south along Salt Point State Park in Sonoma County on California’s north central coast. The marine protected area covers 3.12 square miles. Salt Point SMCA prohibits the take of all living marine resources, except the recreational take of abalone and finfish.
Big Creek State Marine Reserve (SMR) and Big Creek State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) are two adjoining marine protected areas that lie offshore of Big Sur on California's central coast. The combined area of these marine protected areas is 22.45 square miles (58.1 km2). The SMR protects all marine life within its boundaries. Fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited. Within the SMCA fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited except the commercial and recreational take of salmon, albacore, and the commercial take of spot prawn.
Point Buchon State Marine Reserve (SMR) and Point Buchon State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) are two adjoining marine protected areas that lie offshore Point Buchon in San Luis Obispo County on California’s central coast. The combined area of these marine protected areas is 18.21 square miles (47.2 km2). The SMR protects all marine life within its boundaries. Fishing and take of any living marine resources is prohibited. Within the SMCA fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited except the commercial and recreational take of salmon and albacore.
Dana Point State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is one of four adjoining marine protected areas off the coast of Orange County, CA, on California’s South Coast. By itself, the SMCA measures 3.45 square miles. The SMCA protects marine life by limiting the removal of marine wildlife from within its borders, including tide pools. Dana Point SMCA prohibits take of living marine resources except: only the following species may be taken recreationally below the mean lower low tide line only: finfish by hook-and-line or by spearfishing, and lobster and sea urchin. The commercial take of coastal pelagic species by round haul net, and spiny lobster and sea urchin only is allowed.
Laguna Beach State Marine Reserve (SMR) and Laguna Beach State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) are two adjoining marine protected areas that extend offshore of Laguna Beach in Orange County on California’s south coast. The SMR covers 6.27 square miles, and the SMCA covers an additional 3.44 square miles. These two MPAs are part of a four-MPA complex on the coast of southern Orange County. Each protects marine life by prohibiting or limiting the removal of marine wildlife from within its borders.
The Agulhas Bank Complex Marine Protected Area is an offshore marine protected area on the continental shelf lying approximately 39 nautical miles southeast of Cape Agulhas off the Western Cape in the Exclusive Economic Zone of South Africa.
The geology of California is highly complex, with numerous mountain ranges, substantial faulting and tectonic activity, rich natural resources and a history of both ancient and comparatively recent intense geological activity. The state formed as a series of small island arcs, deep ocean sediments and mafic oceanic crust were accreted to the western edge of North America, producing a series of deep basins and high mountain ranges.
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