Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Point St. George Reef Offshore State Marine Conservation Area

The beauty and charm of the area north of Point Arena is not lost on those who explore the remote wilderness. Rugged coastlines plunge into the sea, fog rolls in from the ocean and quiets the surrounding hillsides, and hiking trails beckon those wanting to explore some of California’s most pristine nature. The area lays claim to a quieter, slower-paced lifestyle, compared to the industrialized areas farther south. Continue reading

Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Big Creek State Marine Reserve

As you drive south on Highway 1 from Carmel (or north from San Simeon) on the central California coast, you enter a majestic stretch of coastline called Big Sur. This rugged area, known for its breathtaking views and pristine coastline, is wild yet easy to view from the highway. Although access to the water’s edge is limited, a boat trip can provide a close-up view of this remarkable marine environment. Continue reading

Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Point Reyes State Marine Reserve

Point Reyes
Descend approximately 300 steps to the iconic Point Reyes Lighthouse to view Point Reyes State Marine Reserve.    photo by A. Van Diggelen

Many recreational activities associated with marine protected areas (MPAs) require a visitor to at least get their feet wet, but Point Reyes State Marine Reserve (SMR) offers visitors the opportunity to view and enjoy a wide diversity of animals from shore, and a bathing suit isn’t even required!

Continue reading

Don’t Forget the Scientific Collecting Permit!

Researchers catalog biodiversity at Pyramid Point State Marine Conservation Area in northern California.

Did you know that a scientific collecting permit (SCP) may be required for non-lethal research or educational activities, such as installing scientific equipment or conducting docent-led tidepool surveys for school groups? In fact, nearly all research and many educational activities carried out in California marine waters, especially in marine protected areas (MPAs), require this permit. Continue reading