Aerial view of Hearn Gulch
photo by Craig Tooley,
The addition of the 2-acre Schwab property in March 2005 meant that RCLC could start the process to complete the improvements required to both preserve, and provide public access to, the historic Hearn Gulch Headlands of Mendocino County.
This project, RCLC's first land purchase, was begun with the acquisition of the 3.5-acre Bell property in 2001. Dramatic ocean overlooks, abundant native plant life, a sheltered ravine and a sandy pocket beach through which flows a small creek, characterize this classic example of the rugged Mendocino coast. The two purchases were made possible by grants from the State Coastal Conservancy and the California Department of Transportation, as well as the enthusiastic support of many local citizens who have long sought the preservation of this popular section of the southern Mendocino County coastline.
One notable feature of the beach is the surrounding volcanic rock formation within which is a narrow sea tunnel that, depending on the ocean tide and surf conditions, provides a distinctively loud wave sound echo and water backlash. Of particular interest to experienced wetsuit and kayak enthusiasts, the beach also provides easy ocean access to nearby Saunders Reef. And, for qualified kayak aficionados, there are nearby sea cave exploration opportunities.
There's early California history here, too. If you were to look at a U.S. Geological Survey map of this area you would see that the beach is labeled "Saunders Landing." It was so named because this was a mooring location for "doghole" schooners during lumbering days in the late 1800s.
A 2007 Coastal Commission development permit and 2008 grant from the Coastal Conservancy enabled RCLC to complete the improvements needed to make access safe and suitable for the general public and to protect the fragile bluff area. Contributions to RCLC's Stewardship Fund will provide necessary funds to maintain this and other RCLC preservation and public access projects along the Mendocino coast.
Redwood Coast Land Conservancy
P.O. Box 1511
Gualala, CA 95445
Phone: (707) 884-4426