Sunset at coastal cliffs
The Trust for Public Land worked for two decades to protect the cliffs and prairies at Cotoni-Coast Dairies.
Frank S. Balthis

The California Coastal National Monument comes ashore

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The California Coastal National Monument is not your typical park. For one thing, it’s 1,100 miles long, stretching the full distance between the Oregon and Mexico borders. And until recently, if you wanted to visit, you’d need a boat—or wings, or scales, or a thick layer of blubber.

That’s because the land in this park is mostly offshore: rocks, islands, and reefs within 12 miles of the coast. Established in 2000, the monument safeguards habitat for seabirds, marine mammals, and fish that hunt, nest, and breed in the rich waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Marine mammals hauled out on a rockThe California Coastal National Monument protects more than 20,000 offshore rocks, islands, and reefs so these fellows have a safe place to haul out and rest.Photo credit: Bureau of Land Management via Flickr

In 2014, the monument at last made landfall when President Obama added 1,665 acres near Point Arena (an expansion made possible by a key addition from The Trust for Public Land). This week the monument grew again, gaining onshore open space in five different coastal locations—including a seven-mile stretch north of Santa Cruz known as Cotoni-Coast Dairies. 

It’s a spectacular sweep of open prairie and shady redwood groves with a special place in our hearts: The Trust for Public Land spent decades working to protect this area from development. Joining the national monument gives this coastal treasure the recognition that local conservationists have long felt it deserves—and for good reason.

Considering it’s less than an hour’s drive from San Francisco and the high-tech heart of Silicon Valley, this stretch of coast is a surprisingly peaceful place: but for a few roadside outposts and small farms, the land looks much the way it has for hundreds of years. 

That’s no accident. Over the years, local conservationists fended off development proposals—including a nuclear plant and a 139-unit subdivision. The near-misses made it clear that the land needed protection: in 1998, The Trust for Public Land secured control of the Coast Dairies property, permanently safeguarding it from development. Over the next two decades, we worked to add the land to the state park system and Bureau of Land Management. 

A red-tailed hawk on the Coast Dairies propertyWild creatures from red-tailed hawks to red-legged frogs can be found on this stretch of the California coast.Photo Credit: Frank S. Balthis

“Millions of people have enjoyed the beautiful views at Cotoni-Coast Dairies and today’s announcement means this stunning place will forever be protected for people to enjoy,” says Will Rogers, president of The Trust for Public Land. “We worked for many years to save this land, and President Obama’s far-sighted decision is a great capstone to that effort.”

Cotoni-Coast Dairies will become the largest of the five new gateways to the California Coastal National Monument, along with the Lost Coast Headlands, Trinidad Head, and Lighthouse Ranch to the north, and Piedras Blancas to the south. Together, they make 6,230 more acres of land protected for everyone—so you can touch the wild edge of the Pacific Coast, no wings, scales, or blubber required. 

 

Comments

Shirley Sclifo
This is great new's, yet I'am concerned with the New Trump administration, can they get there hand's on it ? My nerve's come undone thinking about what reach of destruction his appointee's may have. I cannot begun to tell you how pleased I am to hear this new's from you. Forgive me if I'am to concerned about the political component.
Clara Jellinek
Thank you Mr. Obama for giving us this heritage and something to celebrate on this sad day. Listening to the lying speech of our new President is sickening after frightening sight of his swearing in.Aire de V
marty rosen
lots to cheer about and remember that it was ann cole who led the tpl team and cole wilbur of the packard foundation who labored mightily along with semper virens and a host of locals who made this happy day possible. marty rosen
Bonnie Morgan
Yes! Go Ann!! And she continues to do good work in the name of conservation...
Maryann Davis
Amazing news to receive today when our fears are intense about the future of our environment, our lands, our oceans, the amazing blessings of nature - our great earth. Let's keep hope alive.
Robert Bowers
Great job. I love this even though I will never get there.Av
2zoie blair
America will now be known to the world as Little Russia. We no longer have a democracy. Trump is a deranged individual along with the fascist republicans. They and Trump make me sick and Trump will ruin America. Trump bought the election. His bloated ego could not handle being beaten by a woman. How can the military respect a draft dodger? He could not win on his own merit because neither Trump or Pence have any.
Gail Noon
that boy who is a big mountain bike fan...........wants to be able to "rip it up in here".............I'm NOT great on the idea of bikers tearing up the ground / vegetation...............how about we DON'T allow mountain bikers in that area ?
Lewis Clark
Please add maps.

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