Stairs from Bonham Trail down to Cooks Beach improve beach access.
Photo: Bob Rutemoeller
If you have not yet visited this scenic spot, you have missed a surprising corner of the coast here in Gualala. To get there, take Highway north to Highway One mile marker 3.14, turn left onto route 526 (the old coast highway) and park near the fence, on the west side of the road.
LAND DONATED FOR WILLIAM CRAIG WHITELEY MEMORIAL
The idea that I could, in my lifetime, act to preserve
a place on earth such as this by putting it in a forever
land trust was the best tribute I could imagine to make to Will's memory.
Louisa Morris and Lois Lutz (standing)
check for survey marker during visit
to Will's Rest memorial site.
Photo: Harry Lutz
A scenic expanse of coastal terrace north of Anchor Bay has been donated to
Redwood Coast Land Conservancy as a memorial to William Craig Whiteley,
whose family and friends shared many vacations together in this strikingly beautiful spot.
RCLC is working with his mother Rita Milhollin and her family to create Will's Rest, a permanent
memorial which will be open to the public "to afford others the opportunity to share the beauty, majesty,
and solace of this lovely place."
Plans call for benches, a walking path, and subtle barriers to protect the public from the steep cliffs
and dangerous tides along this part of the coast.
The final piece of the park will be a memorial marker, dedicating the conserved land to Will
and his love of this place.
The marker will also display the names of Will's family and friends who help fund the project.
The Redwood Coast Land Conservancy has created a special fund for the development
and continuing stewardship of the memorial.
Contributions are tax-deductible and will help ensure the conservation of this site.
BEHREN'S SILVERSPOT SURVEYS PLANNED
by Louisa Morris
In a major project started earlier this year, RCLC is working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service
(USFWS) to help identify and preserve habitat for the Behren's Silverspot Butterfly, an endangered
species unique to our local area. Over twenty landowners between Albion and Jenner have
volunteered to have their property surveyed for the endangered Behren's Silverspot Butterfly this summer.
State Parks biologist Angela Liebenberg will conduct this fieldwork funded by the USFWS.
Behren's Silverspots have distinctive
wing patterns with prominent silver spots
on the underwing.
Photo: Asa Spade,
Spade Natural Resources Consulting
Unfortunately, until the fog lifts and sunny days arrive, the surveys will be on hold.
Butterflies generally don't like to fly in windy, rainy, or foggy conditions; they like idyllic sunny coastal days for feeding and flying. We're hoping for lots of sunny weather on the coast before the end of September, which is the end of their flying season, so we can complete these surveys in partnership with local landowners.
Behren's Silverspot Butterflies are found between Mendocino and Salt Point State Park
on coastal terrace prairies containing the blue violets (viola adunca) on which the
Silverspot caterpillars feed.
If you would like more information on this projector or are interested in having your property surveyed,
please contact project manager Louisa Morris at 707 937-6217 or email@example.com.
COASTAL COMMISSION RULES ON RETAINING WALL
by Charlie Murphy
At its May 12 meeting, the California Coastal Commission approved the application by
Bower Limited Partnership (BLP) to construct a 105-footlong Geoweb retaining wall
along the bluff behind the Surf Supermarket. This parcel contains a 25-foot-wide public access
easement on which RCLC has built a section of the Gualala Bluff Trail. Construction of the
wall will disturb and necessitate temporary closure of the Trail in that area.
The wall will replace a 70-foot-long wooden retaining wall that failed during 2005-2006 winter storms.
The Commission approved that wall in 1983 to protect the easement because the supermarket had
been built closer to the bluff edge than permitted.
Coastal Comission approves replacement
of failed retaining wall.
Photo: Laurie Mueller
Southern end of new wall design
will include replacement of the
temporary ramp built to enable RCLC
volunteers to work on the trail.
Photo: Mary Sue Ittner
Decision on Extending the wall Postponed
At the May hearing, the Commission postponed consideration of an appeal to BLP's County permit
to extend the Geoweb retaining wall across the bluff top of the adjacent northerly BLP parcel.
We expect that the Commission will hear this appeal at its scheduled meeting in either
September or December.
Through correspondence to the Commission prior to the meeting, RCLC addressed potential
impacts of the proposed wall on public access to the Trail and recommended at the meeting
that the wall's construction, if approved, be subject to various conditions.
Among the special conditions established by the Commission, BLP will be required
to restore any damage to the Bluff Trail and adjoining areas caused by construction of the Geoweb wall.
BLP will also be required to consult with RCLC in the preparation of the wall construction plans, and thesouthern and northern ends of the wall shall be designed to accommodate Bluff Trail crossings
in their existing locations.
BLP must also submit to the Commission soil stabilization and drainage improvement plans
prepared in consultation with RCLC, the local chapter of the California Native Plant Society
and the Mendocino Coast Cooperative Weed Management Area.
Since the approval of the permit, RCLC representatives have met twice and had several follow up
communications with John Bower and George Rau, his project engineer, regarding plans
for the Geoweb wall and their impact on the Bluff Trail.
These interactions have been productive and consistent with the Commission's requirements for
consultation between RCLC and BLP.
We are particularly pleased that BLP, in response to RCLC's recommendation, has retained a
prominent landscape architect to devise conceptual plans for connecting the southern end of the wall
to the Trail in a natural but functional way.
We look forward to continuing to work diligently and cooperatively with BLP, so that the Gualala Bluff
Trail can finally be completed and fully enjoyed by the public.
HISTORIC STEWARTS POINT RANCH PURCHASED
Save the Redwoods League and The Pacific Forest Trust (PFT) have recently completed the purchase of
Stewarts Point Ranch, an 871-acre coastal redwood property just to the south of The Sea Ranch.
The working ranch, purchased for $11.25 million, will eventually be funded by several
public and private agencies.
PFT is developing a plan for limited public access that will be compatible with the conservation of the
property's sensitive resources and its continued management as a working ranch.
Further information about the project is available on the PFT website atwww.pacificforest.org/services/stewarts-point-ranch.html.
COMMUNITY RECOGNIZES MARY SUE ITTNER FOR HER WORK
AS BLUFF TRAIL PROJECT MANAGER
On May 31, RCLC members, friends and volunteers of the Gualala Bluff Trail gathered to
recognize the accomplishmentsof the trail's longtime project manager, Mary Sue Ittner.
Mary Sue has been involved from the very beginning in the planning, building, maintenance
and stewardship of this Gualala landmark.
Ray Jackman, Mary Sue Ittner
and Bob Rutemoeller admire new
plaque honoring Mary Sue's work
on behalf of the Gualala Bluff Trail.
Photo: Harmony Susalla
After many years of concentrated dedication to the Bluff Trail, Mary Sue gave herself permission
to relinquish the task. Although the second phase is not completely finished, recognition of Mary Sue'scommitment seemed well overdue. At noon, about 50 people gathered at the parking area by the GualalaWatershed signs to acknowledge Mary Sue's contributions to the Bluff Trail.
New plaque on Gualala
Bluff Trail bench
Photo: Harry Lutz
The group then followed the trail to the bench at the southern end to unveil a bronze plaque
honoring Mary Sue, where she was also presented with a photo album, organized by Harmony Susalla,
showing construction of the trail, particularly Bluff Trail II.
The group then hiked across the bridge to the northern end of the trail, enjoying the spectacular
wildflowers and views along the way.
Those who walk the Bluff Trail know they are privileged to enjoy one of the most rewarding sights
along the southern Mendocino Coast. The creative native plantings were designed and installed
by Mary Sue, and carefully tended so that today one can sit on one of the trail benches
and delight in a unique view over the Gualala River Estuary and sand bar to the ocean beyond.
To end the celebration, the group assembled at the Gualala Arts Center to share a delicious
potluck lunch, courtesy of Harmony and Sus (including tablecloths by Harmony Design).
Special lunch held at Gualala Arts Center following walk along the Gualala Bluff Trail
Photo: Harry Lutz
NEW PUBLIC ACCESS BROCURE
RCLC has recently produced a color brochure describing the Bonham Trail access to Cooks Beach
and the trails to the Hearn Gulch headlands and pocket beach.
The nearly completed Gualala Bluff Trail is also featured.
We are looking for a volunteer or two to organize the distribution of brochures in local
vacation rentals, motels, restaurants and other places where tourists and local residents arelikely to see them. If you would like to volunteer or would like copies for your place of business
or friends and neighbors, please contact Bob Rutemoeller at 884-4426.
LAWSUIT AGAINST RCLC SETTLED
The RCLC Board is pleased to report that the lawsuit between Bower Limited Partnership, RCLC, and the California Coastal Commission was finally settled earlier this spring, allowing the building of the Gualala Bluff Trail to proceed after a two-year delay. The lawsuit was filed in early 2005 by Mr. John H. Bower, who contested the validity of the easement, which crosses his property behind Surf Super. After preliminary hearings upheld the validity of the easement and RCLC's right to build the trail as planned, the lawsuit was settled.
Under terms of the settlement, the Coastal Commission and RCLC were reimbursed for attorney fees and court costs. The settlement also enforced, with a substantial fine, the Coastal Commission countersuit requiring Mr. Bower to rebuild the failed retaining wall behind Surf Super.
RCLC appreciates the important legal help by attorneys Rod Jones and Christiana Tiedemann, Deputy Attorney General, and the support of its members and our local community in defending the easement.
COMPLETION OF TRAIL MAY BE DELAYED
Before RCLC can connect the trail segment at the end of Breakers Inn with the rest of the trail, the failed retaining wall behind the Surf Market must be repaired. The wall, which had been failing for some time, broke away in February 2005, taking part of the trail easement with it.
Failed retaining wall
photo by Laurie Mueller
The settlement of the lawsuit between Mr. Bower, who owns the property, RCLC and the Coastal Commission earlier this spring enforced the requirement that Mr. Bower rebuild the wall. The Coastal Commission is currently considering what type of construction Mr. Bower will be allowed to build.
After Mr. Bower has his plans approved, he estimates it will take him three or four months to repair the wall. Since work must be done in the dry season, he may not be finished in time for RCLC to complete the trail before the rainy season.
PROGRESS ON THE GUALALA BLUFF TRAIL
by Mary Sue Ittner, Bluff Trail Project Coordinator
Progress on the Gualala Bluff Trail has often felt very slow with roadblocks and challenges at every turn. However, as I chose pictures to go with this article, I was struck with how much has been accomplished in this last year. I'd like to share with you some of the memorable moments that have brightened my days.
July-September 2006 The stainless steel railing made by Kentucky John Melanson for the rock outcrop is carried down and put in place. It is far more beautiful than I envisioned. People start to realize that Bluff Trail Two is going to be special. While on vacation we learn that the driller has arrived and that work has finally begun on the bridge behind Breakers Inn. Geologist Mike Lane monitors the operation and reports that all is going well.
October-December 2006 RCLC volunteers assist contractor Phil Simon's workers, Mario Garcia and Oscar Marquez, on the bridge. These two hard workers can't quite believe that all these old guys work for free. When it seems we will be delayed because we can't get rebar delivered, Kentucky John offers to pick it up in Santa Rosa. In November we plant our first plants. In December, 28 people show up to help move the 40-foot bridge railings into place. There is a feeling of pride and satisfaction in being part of such a worthy community project.
Oscar Marquez and Mario Garcia lower rebar into place with
RCLC volunteers Ray Jackman, John Moelter, George Marshall,
George Anderson and Bob Rutemoeller.
January-March 2007 Finishing touches are added to the pedestrian bridge and work begins on connecting the trail to the bridge. Views of and from the bridge are incredible. We gain some new workers and others return. Mary Hunter helps me figure out where and what we will plant on the Humber property. One day, when I despair that we won't get all the plants I brought from home in, everyone stays late until the job is finished. I watch in amazement as our volunteers move huge rocks and put them in place to create steps to the bridge.
April-June 2007 At last work begins on the Bower property along the parking area. Our new contractor, John Robertson, is calm, confident, and helpful. As we try to figure out how we can put the trail in without affecting the drainage and still make it attractive, he suggests using rocks around our planting mounds to hold the soil in place. There is another good turnout of volunteers the day we add the bollards and plants. We are grateful to have the contractor drill holes for the bollards in the compacted soil.
Steve May at Surf Super offers to provide water for our plants as does Breakers Inn. Karen Bronner donates part of her time installing a watering system on the Bower property and helps figure out which plants to add.
Both visitors to our area and local residents are walking the trail and admiring it. They love the view from the bridge and the rock outcrop and the two benches we have added. The one on the Bower property is especially helpful for people who can't walk very far and want to sit and look at the view. Walking the trail on the Humber property behind Breakers Inn and Ocean Song is a bit more challenging, but worth the effort for those who can manage it.
Bollards, planting mounds
and plants are added
Unfortunately, there will be another delay before we can complete the trail. We will soon have to stop work until issues about the failed retaining wall behind Surf Super are resolved. In the meantime, we invite everyone to come visit the trail, observe our progress and enjoy the beautiful views.
NOTE: To reach the trail, please come in by foot. The parking area behind Surf Super is not open for public parking.
BLUFF TRAIL VOLUNTEERS 2006-2007
George Anderson, Bob Aubrey, David Bower, Karen Bronner, Ray Comeau, Bill Davy, Chad Degarmo, G.W. Dodds, Jim Fitzsimmons, Heinz Gewing, George Haas, Sherry Haines, Frank Healy, Dard Hunter, Mary Hunter, Mary Sue Ittner, Colleen Jackman, Ray Jackman, Bruce Jones, Robert Juengling, Ben Klagenberg, Frank Klembeck, Brent Klopfer, Mike Lane, Irene Leidner, Marty Linker, Harry Lutz, Don Mahaffey, George Marshall, Fred McElroy, John Melanson, John Moelter, Louisa Morris, Charlie Murphy, Doug Patterson, Tony Perez, Jackie Petersen, John Petersen, Bob Pounds, Bob Rutemoeller, Dave Scholz, Dean Schuler, Phil Simon, Jim Suhr, Mike Tuft, Frank Welsh
Kathie Anderson, Heinz Gewing, Paula Gordon, Amie Heath, Chris & Tessa Howard, Mary Sue Ittner & Bob Rutemoeller, Don Kemp, Nancy Killian, Sue & Bob Lease, Liz Redfield, Kathleen Sandidge & Charlie Murphy, John & Jackie Petersen, Ted & Cora Lee Seale, Harmony & Sus Susalla, Gail Taylor
A NEW PARTNER IN CONSERVATION
by Lois Lutz, RCLC Board Member
Mark Chapell, shown in the photo with board members Lois Lutz and Shirley Eberly, is the new owner of one of the two lots on RCLC's Hathaway Creek Conservation Easement in Point Arena. Peter and Anna Dobbins first created this easement in 2000. Mark is happy to be doing his part to continue to protect the coastal scrub and streamside vegetation that provides important habitat for a variety of wildlife, including the endangered Point Arena Mountain Beaver. Currently, Mark is building a barn on the property outside of the protected area and hopes to spend much more time here with his family.
Feel free to contact RCLC if you are interested in investing in the protection of your land in perpetuity through a conservation easement. Conservation easements do not need to provide access to the public, but the property should have important habitat values or offer scenic values visible to the general public.
ST. ORRES PROJECT A CHALLENGE
by Irene Leidner, Project Coordinator
The St. Orres Public Access Project provides another example of partnerships with and for RCLC.
John Erickson, the landowner just north of St. Orres Cove, whose land contains a portion of the current trail used by abalone divers, provided an Offer to Dedicate in 2003. This was gratefully accepted by RCLC for development and maintenance.
St. Orres Beach
The Coastal Commission, Coastal Conservancy, and Mendocino County are all involved in decisions about developing the site. Since this property fronts Highway One, CalTrans is also involved.
This small cove, a favorite of abalone divers in years past, is rapidly becoming the biggest challenge to RCLC yet. St. Orres' stream divides the cove neatly in half, and the sides of the cove are steep and provide little space for construction of a trail or steps to the beach. The geologist and botanist have each begun their respective reports, and most recently a surveyor has been hired to define the CalTrans boundaries, upon whose property most of the upper portion of the trail will be placed. The Coastal Conservancy is generously providing financial assistance for construction of this trail along with the funds granted for Bonham Trail/Cooks Beach.
Although finding a good path is a challenge, RCLC is determined to explore all possibilities for beach access within the guidelines provided by the Coastal Commission and the Coastal Conservancy. We will keep our readers posted on our progress.
RCLC wishes to strongly warn that until a trail is developed, access to this beach is very dangerous. The trail that had been in use previously has deteriorated badly over the past few years, and beach access now requires negotiation down a steep slope, across a stream, and across numerous logs and rocks.
HEARN GULCH PROJECT APPROVED
by Dave Scholz, Hearn Gulch Project Coordinator
The long process of designing a formal public access to the Hearn Gulch Headlands and Beach while, at the same time, protecting the property's abundant environmentally sensitive habitat areas (ESHAs), is nearing a successful conclusion.
Wildflowers now carpet Hearn Gulch bluffs
as nature reclaims damaged areas
In many respects, this project has illuminated an ongoing issue along the California coast: the sometimes-conflicting goals of access versus protection. And, in this case, after working through both the County of Mendocino and now the California Coastal Commission permitting processes, we feel we have achieved the proper blending of those two goals at Hearn Gulch.
There are six ESHAs identified within the six acres of land acquired by RCLC at Hearn Gulch: four California Native Plant Society endangered (List 1B) plant ESHAs, one riparian corridor ESHA, and one seasonal wetland ESHA. In addition, there is potential for a seventh ESHA that will require on-going evaluation, most likely for a number of years.
Checkerbloom (sidalcea malviflora)
photo courtesy of Gary A. Monroe
How do we protect these areas and still provide access to the public? The solution to this puzzle is elegant in its simplicity. Both access and protection will be achieved by scaling back the normal mandatory improvements (fences, signs, pathways and parking spaces) and by allowing continued public use of the existing CalTrans Highway One right of way for parking.
The process of protecting the California coast's exceptional natural heritage can take many twists and turns and may, on occasion, require creative solutions along the way. Mendocino County, the California Coastal Commission and CalTrans have worked together with RCLC to provide improved public access at Hearn Gulch while protecting sensitive habitat from unnecessary disturbance.
Coastal Morning Glory
(Calystegia purpurata ssp. Saxicola)
photo courtesy of Doreen L. Smith
RCLC has just received both the prerequisite amended CalTrans encroachment permit and the new California Coastal Commission development permit. Once the budget for the scaled-down development plan is determined, RCLC will identify what additional funding may be required beyond the existing grant money already received from the Mendocino Community Foundation for the Hearn Gulch project.
RCLC IS NEW BEACH CAPTAIN
by Rosemarie Hocker, RCLC Board Member
Peter Reimuller, a dedicated volunteer for Friends of Schooner Gulch, has asked RCLC to take over the "Beach Captain" duties for Schooner Gulch and Bowling Ball Beach. RCLC Directors George Anderson and Rosemarie Hocker met with Peter to thank him for his years of service and to accept the stewardship charge to monitor the condition of the beach and organize clean-up days.
Good vibrations were in the wind. Sharon Nickodem from Anchor Bay called to say she walks the beach often and has volunteered to be the lead person in charge of monitoring the beach. The next official Coastal Cleanup isn't until later this fall, but Sharon and RCLC plan to put out a call for helpers throughout the year. Our coastal communities deeply appreciate all the people who show their care for the coast.
MANY PARTNERS IN BONHAM TRAIL / COOKS BEACH PROJECT
by Irene Leidner, Bonham Trail to Cooks Beach Coordinator
The Bonham Trail to Cooks Beach Project is a perfect example of the many partnerships necessary to identify, plan, develop and maintain a valuable piece of property in our local community.
Dr. John Bonham and his wife, who for years allowed local residents access to a private beach through a small path at the northern end of their land just north of the town of Gualala, realized how important it was to maintain that access for future generations of locals and visitors alike.
Delores McDonald Bonham
Dr. Bonham and Ray Van de Water of RCLC worked with the Coastal Commission to formulate a legal document for dedicating that access in perpetuity, through means of an OTD, or Offer to Dedicate. Upon completion of this OTD, RCLC elected to take on the responsibility of developing and maintaining this access, and began planning improvement and development of this area.
In honor of the Bonham's contribution, a memorial will be placed on the property to commemorate the many environmental volunteer achievements of John's late wife, Delores McDonald Bonham. The beach will retain its current name of Cooks Beach, while the trail will be called Bonham Trail.
A Coastal Commission requirement for RCLC's involvement in this project is a carefully executed management plan that will maintain the natural beauty of the area. Steps will allow easier access than the current rope and rocks path to this Gualala area jewel.
A sizable cove, Cooks Beach is well-protected, and a small year-round stream, sometimes with a waterfall, adds to its charm. The management plan also includes a short trail to the bluff top overlooking the beach. There a bench will be placed, honoring Ray, one of the founders of RCLC, who passed away last fall after a short illness.
After the OTD had been granted to RCLC, Ray successfully applied to the Coastal Conservancy for a $100,000 grant to develop these trails (including the St. Orres beach access, described in another article). Because this project involved development on an access trail to the beach, a building permit was required from Mendocino County, another partner in the development of the Bonham Trail/Cooks Beach Project. Two more partners were required to conduct the necessary geological and archeological surveys.
Finally, on May 14, 2007, approval from Mendocino County Department of Planning and Building, the Coastal Commission, and the Coastal Conservancy was granted for proceeding with this project. This is not the end of the partnership saga, however; still to come are partnerships with local contractors for building the steps and supervising the trail, as well as partnerships with local volunteers to help complete this valuable trail. Without the dedication, commitment, and cooperation of all these organizations and the very knowledgeable people associated with them, Cooks Beach could have been lost to the public forever as housing developments envelop the remaining land in our community.
REMEMBERING RCLC FOUNDER RAY VAN DE WATER
by Irene Leidner
Gilbert Raymond Van de Water
10/19/1920 to 10/19/2006
No one epitomized the goals, aspirations, and dedication to preserving the natural world more than Ray Van de Water. A native Californian, born in Monrovia, California, he traded Berkeley academia after one year for the training that called to him - the Merchant Marine Academy. As World War II began, he moved rapidly through the ranks, so that by the end he was a Captain with American President Lines, transporting troops and materials. He celebrated the end of the war in 1945 by marrying Florence Culbertson, and from then on they were inseparable. Ray and Flo raised their four children with a keen appreciation of the wilderness and outdoors, and their annual family summertime camping trips with children and grandchildren were a cherished tradition for everyone in the family. This was not a man, however, to confine his loves and interests to a singular purpose; his life's history reflects a man ready to embrace life and all its possibilities.
Soon after the war, Ray shifted from ship captain to working in the insurance department of his company. When he retired in 1982, he and Flo made the decision to move from Danville to their vacation home in Gualala, their own personal Shangri-la. There they became heavily involved in community activities; both served as officers and longtime board members of the California Native Plant Society and contributed regularly to the CNPS newsletter. Ray also served as a member of the Gualala River Watershed Council, which named Van De Water Creek in his honor a few years ago in appreciation of his services. Flo and Ray were both avid hikers, active in the Thursday Ramblers and Hikes for Health groups well past their 80th birthdays. Anyone who has visited their home in Gualala can appreciate the care with which it was designed and built, to emphasize the beauty of its spectacular views while retaining an unobtrusive footprint on the land. Many times this home was a welcome resource for local nonprofit organizations that needed a host family for a visiting artist, musician or speaker.
Flo and Ray Van de Water
Ray's love for the uniqueness of this area and his concern for retaining that beauty for future generations led him to help found the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy in 1992. His knowledge and love of the environment, combined with his business experience, was well suited to taking an active role in the newly formed RCLC. He successfully worked with the Coastal Commission, the Coastal Conservancy, and local landowners to dedicate scenic land for preservation and public access. This past March, Ray was awarded the Local Environmentalist Award posthumously by the Mendocino Coast Environmental Partnership, a consortium of the Mendocino Land Trust, the California Native Plant Society, the Mendocino Coast Audubon Society, and the Mendocino Parks Association. At the opening dedication ceremony of the Bonham Trail leading to Cooks Beach later this year, Ray's contributions to RCLC will be commemorated by a public bench on the overlook to the beach.
Ray not only talked the talk, he walked the walk - with intelligence, honor, and integrity. He is sorely missed.
"He was here but a relatively short time,
But shall remain here forever"
The need to protect open space so that future generations can enjoy what we have today is a genuine and urgent reality. Since July 27, 1992, the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy, as this community's local land trust, has addressed this reality by advancing our mission to preserve the natural environment, increase public access to scenic land, and provide public education regarding our natural heritage.
RCLC has not acted alone. These articles celebrate the fifteen years of RCLC accomplishments achieved by a partnership with government agencies, thoroughly dedicated volunteers, generous donors and local landowners.
The Gualala Bluff Trail, the original inspiration for the founding of RCLC, is nearing completion. The Hearn Gulch public access project has received Coastal Commission approval with work slated to begin this summer. The Bonham Trail at Cooks Beach has received county approval, and engineering studies are being developed for the St. Orres beach access. In addition, RCLC continues to provide conservation easement information to interested landowners seeking to preserve open space and wildlife habitat.
RCLC welcomes you to help us meet future challenges. As partners working together, join us as a donor or a volunteer. The triumphs of land preservation are a link to both the past and the future.
RCLC AWARDS GIVEN FOR ENVIRONMENTAL ART
Last year RCLC sponsored two Gualala Arts Center awards to artists whose works best captured the beauty of our natural coastal environment.
ART IN THE REDWOODS
holding winning artwork
The Art in the Redwoods RCLC Environmental Award was presented to Linda Caldwell for her photograph, "Dancing Trees".
Linda said "Thank you for selecting me for your prestigious award. I treasure the compliment as well as the image and what it represents.
The image 'Dancing Trees' was shot in early morning when the sun's warm rays of light blended with the foggy mist surrounding these beautiful oak trees, creating a kind of mystique or aura. The curved entwined shapes of the trees gave a look as if they were dancing, thus Dancing Trees was born."
ENVIRONMENTAL ART SHOW
RCLC Director Shirley Eberly
congratulates Zach Pine on his award
Redwood Coast Land Conservancy's Environmental Award was given to Zach Pine for his rock installation photograph at the 2006 Gualala Arts Center Environmental Art Show.
Zach Pine said, "I was honored to receive the RCLC award. My artwork is largely motivated by my desire to better understand and to protect the environment, so recognition by a group such as yours is especially meaningful. I'm donating my prize to the Gualala Arts Center in gratitude to the Center and to the artists and curator who made this inspiring show possible." More of Zach Pine's work can be seen on his website: www.naturesculpture.com.
INVESTING IN RCLC'S FUTURE
Most of the funds that RCLC receives from grants and local contributions provide the essential support RCLC needs to undertake projects that benefit our community.
As we come closer to completing some of our current projects, we are also considering some longer-term needs. To meet those needs, RCLC has established two funds, one to provide long-term protection for the land we are preserving and another to be prepared for future opportunities.
The RCLC Stewardship Fund sets aside funds to monitor, maintain and legally defend RCLC public access projects and conservation easements. Your contribution to the Stewardship Fund will help make sure that RCLC projects are protected and properly maintained.
The RCLC Opportunity Fund will build up additional funds so that RCLC can be prepared to move quickly if uniquely scenic properties or endangered habitats in our local area need protection.
ART IN THE REDWOODS
The Redwood Coast Land Conservancy will present a $100 award to the best work representing the natural coastal environment at this year's Art in the Redwoods held at the Gualala Arts Center August 17 - 19, 2007.
"Dancing Trees" by Linda Caldwell.
Winner of RCLC's 2006 Art In the Redwoods Environmental Award
FIFTEEN YEARS OF ACCOMPLISHMENT
For the past fifteen years, the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy has been working to preserve our natural environment and to provide public access to local bluffs and beaches. We can all take pride in what has been accomplished through the hard work of our many volunteers and the generous financial support of our local community.
July 1992 Redwood Coast Land Conservancy is formed with the encouragement of The Gualala Area Coalition, the predecessor to GMAC.
October 1994 As the local land trust, RCLC accepts the OTD (offers to dedicate) easements offered by the Bower family and others as a condition for developing their oceanfront properties. RCLC begins planning for Phase One of the Gualala Bluff Trail.
Summer 1995 Mendocino County formally adopts the Gualala Town Plan, which describes the Gualala Bluff Trail easements as the town's primary public access to ocean views.
Summer 1998 RCLC completes the first phase of the trail, a 500-foot landscaped path which runs along the bluff behind the Sea Cliff Center and the Surf Motel. Planning begins for Phase Two of the trail.
March 2000 The six-acre Hathaway Creek Conservation Easement is established to preserve open space and wildlife habitat.
December 2001 RCLC purchases the north end of Hearn Gulch through a $320,000 grant from the Coastal Conservancy to provide public access to the bluffs and improve the trail down to the pocket beach.
July 2002 RCLC accepts an OTD easement from John and Mary Sue Erickson along St. Orres Creek directly across from St. Orres Inn and Restaurant.
July 2003 RCLC accepts an OTD easement from the Bonham family for a public access trail to Cooks Beach.
March 2004 The southern addition for Hearn Gulch is purchased with a $250,000 grant from the Coastal Conservancy.
October 2004 After RCLC meets all the planning requirements and public hearings are held, Mendocino County grants RCLC a building permit to construct Phase Two of the Gualala Bluff Trail.
February 2005 RCLC begins work on Phase Two of the Gualala Bluff Trail. Work on trail segment crossing Bower property is halted by lawsuit.
June 2005 RCLC receives a $100,000 grant from Coastal Conservancy to develop public access for St. Orres and Cooks Beach and a grant from Mendocino Community Foundation for improvements on Hearn Gulch.
November 2005 RCLC receives a $105,000 supplemental grant for Gualala Bluff Trail.
October 2006 Hearn Gulch permit approved by Mendocino County. Later Coastal Commission review scales back parking area.
January 2007 Pedestrian bridge west of Breakers Inn is completed.
April 2007 After lawsuit is settled, work resumes on Bower property segment of trail. Landscaping mounds and bollards are placed to define trail.
May 2007 RCLC receives final approval to proceed with the Bonham/Cooks Project. Work on the trail will begin in the fall of 2007.
PRESIDENT'S REPORT: RCLC AT THE CROSSROADS
by Laurie Mueller
Thanks to generous support from our local community and the dedicated work of many volunteers, RCLC has grown from just an idea to a working land trust that has taken the lead in preserving many local coastal properties. A list of RCLC projects follows this report.
We want to build on our strengths as your local land trust. Interest in preserving the remaining open space along our coast is high. We see many exciting opportunities to work with local landowners and funding agencies to set aside conservation and trail easements.
We also see that we can no longer rely on our current structure as an all-volunteer organization if we want to take on new projects. Each project we undertake can require dozens, and in some cases, hundreds, of hours of work to acquire funding, negotiate easements, conduct surveys, develop management plans, prepare permit applications, supervise work and monitor easements.
Our organization is at a crossroads. If we want to manage our current commitments and, at the same time, respond to new opportunities that arise, we will need to hire a part-time staff person. This is an important decision for a small land trust to make. Rather than being limited by current capabilities, we have chosen to expand those capabilities by hiring a paid administrator.
To hire staff, RCLC will require a higher level of funding than we have needed in the past. RCLC has traditionally obtained operating funds through our newsletter mailings and our annual raffle. While the raffle has been a heartwarming example of community support, this coming year RCLC plans to concentrate efforts on a major membership campaign to bring in a steady source of operating income.
The next few months will tell us how successful those efforts have been. We hope to have funding for a staff person in place by early next year so that we can move ahead on several projects. If you would like to support this effort and help keep your local land trust strong, please send in your membership gift today. You may address your contribution to:
Redwood Coast Land Conservancy
P.O. Box 1511
Gualala, CA 95445-1511
Thank you. Laurie Mueller
by Lois Lutz and Cecilia Moelter
Five RCLC members joined land trust staff and volunteers from all over the nation at the annual Land Trust Alliance Rally held in Sacramento in October.
Rally provided a sense of the larger conservation picture, as well as invaluable training in the many aspects of land preservation. Multiple workshops and speakers over a four-day period covered topics such as ethics, fundraising, stewardship, and tax issues. As the president of the Land Trust Alliance put it, "Rally is a Town Meeting of a National Movement." And as at a town meeting, the exchange of ideas and opportunities to meet new people involved in the same cause was stimulating indeed! Rally reinforced the need to build a strong land trust to ensure the permanence of our properties and conservation easements and to seek collaboration with other land trusts and organizations to do more strategic conservation. When residents understand and support the work of a land trust, great things happen.
Our attendees, Cecilia Moelter, Lois Lutz, Bob Rutemoeller, Shirley Eberly, and Dave Scholz, all learned a great deal and have returned reinvigorated and ready to put our learning into action.
ART IN THE REDWOODS AWARD
by Rob Elder
Last winter, fierce storms ripped away parts of the stairs to Walk On Beach at The Sea Ranch. But the second of those storms also left hundreds of small stones, unlike any I have seen before or since, colored in shades of mauve, peach, purple and ivory, often swirled together in the same rock. I filled my pockets and came back next day for more, but the ocean had reclaimed them.
Still, I had dozens, and determined then and there to share their beauty. Polished and combined with sea glass, driftwood and feathers from other walks, they became my assemblage "Ocean, Earth and Sky," winner of the Art in the Redwoods Award for Excellence in Portraying the Coastal Environment.
Thank you, Redwood Coast Land Conservancy.
GUALALA BLUFF TRAIL: A 500-foot landscaped path from the bluff edge behind Sea Cliff Center to the Surf Motel. Phase II will extend the Trail to Oceansong Restaurant.
DOBBINS CONSERVATION EASEMENT: Six acres of open space and wildlife habitat along Hathaway Creek outside Point Arena set aside by Peter and Anna Dobbins.
BOURNS LANDING: Coastal access easements set aside by the Bonham family. Work is underway to provide a bluff-top public viewing platform and access trail down to Cooks Beach from the Bourns Landing headlands on Old State Highway 1.
HEARN GULCH: A 3.5 acre portion of the Hearn Gulch Headlands south of Point Arena. This acquisition, RCLC's first land purchase, will assure public access to a broad bluff-top overlook, a sheltered ravine, and a sandy beach through which flows a small creek.
ST. ORRES CREEK and BEACH: John and Mary Sue Erickson have generously granted an access easement along St. Orres Creek across from St. Orres Inn and Restaurant, the well-known local landmark on Highway 1 to provide public access to a scenic gulch, ocean cove and cozy beach where the creek flows into the ocean.
OTHER PROPERTIES UNDER CONSIDERATION: The RCLC is actively negotiating the purchase or acceptance of conservation easements for other coastal properties with outstanding scenic and ecological values.
RCLC PROFILE - Bob Rutemoeller
by Rosemarie Hocker
RCLC interviewed Board Member Bob Rutemoeller. Never one to "toot his own horn," Bob plays a number of incredibly important roles in RCLC. He's another of our gems on the coast.
RCLC: How did you become interested in RCLC and what are some of the things you do for RCLC?
Bob: In 1992 Ray Van de Water recruited me and a few other people to put together RCLC's non-profit corporation papers. Since then I've been the treasurer and maintain our list of donors and friends. As an all-volunteer group there are always interesting meetings and projects in progress. We have a great cadre of helpers from the Board of Directors and many others who support our efforts. But we are always happy for more friends to volunteer.
RCLC: Tell us about yourself. Were there early influences that put you on the path toward working with land trusts?
Bob: I was born and grew up in the western (Sunset) district of San Francisco. I always enjoyed Golden Gate Park and its many nooks and crannies. We had a distant view of the ocean and Mount Tamalpais. After graduating from Santa Clara University, I moved to Hayward and began attending Sierra Club meetings in Berkeley and Oakland. That is how I met Mary Sue Ittner, my wife. We both enjoyed the beautiful parks in the Bay Area and Point Reyes on the coast. After many years of environmental activity, I was attracted to the idea of voluntary land conservation in our local coastal and forest region. I work professionally as a financial planner and tax preparer and know the tax code has incentives for owners to grant conservation easements and protections for private land.
RCLC: How long have you lived here on the coast? How does your life style here compare or contrast with other places you have lived? What makes a special difference and why?
Bob: Mary Sue and I came to the Mendocino Coast from our home in Stockton for vacations. We started going to the village of Mendocino, but soon found Gualala and Anchor Bay. We loved staying at the Mar Vista for many years. In 1988 we were driving along the ridge in Gualala and happened upon our future home on Ocean Ridge Drive. We had not planned to move here eleven months later, but are very happy we did after fourteen years. We always enjoyed this beautiful region but found even more special the people and friends that make this a great community.
RCLC: Are there places on the coast really special for you?
Bob: It is hard to mention a special place -- there are so many. My newest "special place" is Hearn Gulch that RCLC was able to acquire with funds from the California Coastal Conservancy. In spring and early summer there are beautiful wildflowers and the pocket beach is a treasure. Dorothy Scherer did a wonderful plant survey and gave us ideas for protecting some of the native plants at Hearn Gulch.
RCLC: Please tell us why you support the work of RCLC and how you would encourage others to participate in the work of the conservancy?
Bob: I do a lot of "office" work for RCLC but find the outside fieldwork more interesting and rewarding. We see some beautiful areas and get to meet property owners who really care about their land. The prognosis for large government purchases of land indicates dwindling funds. State and federal budget deficits will make caring for what they already have more difficult. The alternative is for Land Trusts such as our Redwood Coast Land Conservancy to provide local support for individual property owners to preserve more of our coastal and forest resources. We are very active in providing and improving coastal access. So far we have accomplished a lot. But there is lots more to do. We need more financial and volunteer support. We were helped a great deal by grant funding for our projects, but we need to provide for our share of funds (volunteer help counts, too).
RCLC: Thanks, Bob. We'll carry on!
by Cecilia Moelter
Good News! RCLC received a grant of $38,500 from the Coastal Conservancy on August 14th for the Gualala Bluff Trail project. After submitting the Management Plan for Gualala Bluff Trail Phase Two, the last requirement will be a Mendocino County permit. Then comes breaking ground to construct this continuation of the trail from the Surf Motel going south to Oceansong. With a bridge, stairs and path to a rock outcrop overlooking the Gualala River, visitors and residents will be able to watch waves, whales, otters, seals, birds and sunsets. RCLC thanks the Coastal Conservancy for this generous award that will increase public access to a beautiful coastal outlook.
Because the cost of building the trail will exceed the grant monies, the need for matching funds is a primary focus for this project. While waiting for Phase Two, please enjoy Bluff Trail Phase One and stroll along the bluff from Sea Cliff to the Surf Motel.
RCLC Raffle Winners and Prize List
Drawing held Sun Jan 12, 2003 at 3PM at Sunstrom Mall
- Art Portrait of your coastal home by Mark Taylor. Donated by Dave & Charlotte Scholz.12 X 16 Oil Painting. Sandy Bush
- Sea Ranch Golf Course: 2 prizes: 18 hole round of golf for two with a cart. Barbara Gomes and Mary Jane Sargent
- Margi Ingersoll: Handpainted 6" art tile or set of four coaster tiles. Andrew & Theresa Gunther
- Pacific Rain Handmade Soaps: Gift crate from www.pacificrainsoap.com. Janis Dolphin
- Ansel Adams Calendar for 2003 donated by a friend. Dale Bowman
- Gualala Pharmacy: One pound of Fudge. Betty Athens
- Gordon Smith: 20 minute chair massage. Roy Comeau
- Bill Perry: Color Photo 11 by 14 Color photo "After the Storm". Gloria Mikuls
- Everything Under the Sun: $30 gift cert for items from the "Treasure Chest". Nial Healy
- Rock Art- by Ellen Soule: Donated by a friend. Charles Reinhardt
- Paul Kozal: (2 items) Signed posters of Enchanted Path and Cypress Trail. Irene Leidner and Jill Butler
- Alinder Gallery: Book. Kristine Donadio
- Sea Ranch Lodge: (2 items) Gift certificates for a one night's stay midweek for two. Lynn Davis and Doug Hammerstrom
- Gualala Trading Co.: Gift Certificate. Nial Healy
- Gualala Video: Gift Certificate. Jim Suhr
- Shirley Eberly: Ceramic plate. Barbara Smith
- Rumors: Haircut - $45. Barbara Smith
- Upper Crust Pizza: One large pizza. Mary Hunter
- Adventure Rents: Half-day float trip on the Gualala River. Doris Constenius
- Sea Ranch Lodge Store: cap. Gloria Mikuls
- B & B Stay for 1 or 2 couples at Rainbow's End. Ann Weaver
- Village Bootery: Gift. John O'Rouke
- Rosemarie Hocker: (5 items) Box of local scenes photo note cards: Peter Haas, Phil Mowry, John Erickson, Barbara Meral, Katrina Van Walterop
- Gualala Hotel Restaurant: Gift Certificate. H.Shane
- Sonya Halley: Painting. Jan Venolia
- Bruce Jones: Painting. Ray Crosby
- Susan Field: Artwork. Craig Bell
- Susan Shaddick: Kelp Sculpture. Ann Weaver
- Village Fitness Center: (2 items) Books for ten visits. Jan Venolia and Ben Klagenberg
- The Food Company: Gift Certificate. Bill Davy
- Grace McMaster: Original Watercolor, matted. Marilyn Limbaugh
- Tom Eckles: Color Photos (2). Charles Tuttle and Eric Bradford
- Roy Austin: turned bowl. David Arkin and Annie Tilt
OCEAN ACCESS AT ST. ORRES CREEK
by Ray Van de Water
In July, through the generosity of coastal property owners John and Mary Sue Erickson, RCLC was granted an easement over their property along St. Orres Creek, Gualala, providing for public access to a very scenic gulch and ocean cove at the creek mouth. The access point is across Highway 1 from the famed St. Orres Inn.
The trail will be improved
A view from the top of the bluff
RCLC is now engaged in planning improvements and getting the necessary building permits from CALTRANS and the Mendocino County Planning and Building Department. With permits in hand, RCLC will apply to the State Coastal Conservancy for help in funding the trail-building work. We hope to complete the work and open the access for public use in spring or summer of 2003.
RCLC is highly pleased to gain this easement; it provides for public access along a stretch of the coast where there has been little or no public access up to now. The beach and ocean are quite close to Highway 1 here, the access trail being less than 200 feet long. Another exciting RCLC project!
The way Cook's Beach and Fish Rock
might look from a viewing platform
The Bonham Family has offered to dedicate portions of their land at Bourns Landing, including access to Cook's Beach. On a recent field trip, RCLC representatives scouted out possibilities such as a viewing platform from above and improved trail access to the beach. Some of the views that we were treated to appear on these pages. More news to come on this project.
ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD WINNER
Artist Ron Bolander
Gualala artist Ron Bolander won RCLC's Environmental Award at the 2002 Art in the Redwoods Show. The judges selected his beautiful large color photograph entitled, "IMPENDING STORM." In Ron's view, the photograph "shows both nature and the hand of man. The hand of man is not intrusive, but works in conjunction with nature."
RCLC PROFILE - Bill Wiemeyer
Past president Bill Wiemeyer is Director of Environmental Planning at The Sea Ranch. He made the connection between last fall's Profile of Architect Fiona O'Neill and his introduction to RCLC. "Fiona was on the Board before I was. When RCLC was planning Phase I of the Bluff Trail, Fiona said we need someone with your expertise to help out on this. And so I went to a meeting, and soon there I was -- on the Board. Getting involved in RCLC is one of the most rewarding things that I do other than being a parent." Bill and Sandy have two daughters, Hanna and Julia, students at Horicon Elementary School.
Growing up in Ukiah, Bill lived but a quarter mile away from woods. At eight years of age, he'd come home from school, finish his homework and take off with his friends until it got dark. "It was all OK. There was nothing to worry about. Over time," he said, "you got this sense of comfort, being in that environment. There is a lot of good to say about what nature does for one's mindset, one's view of the world. All the time that I spent in nature as a child formed me as an adult. What I value in life today is all about being out in nature. It's one of the reasons why my work at The Sea Ranch means so much to me and also why I'm in the Land Conservancy."
Biology was his first love. Influenced by his happy experiences fishing and being out in the woods, he earned his BA at Sonoma State, becoming a fisheries biologist, and later earned a Masters degree from Cal Poly Pomona in landscape architecture. He put himself through school doing landscape construction. Pursuing an interest in horticulture, he found opportunities in the kind of landscape design that had to do with natural resource management. "Ecosystem management means looking at all the natural systems, how they work and how you integrate humans in that. Some places come close to that in a lot of ways, The Sea Ranch being one. There was sort of a natural mesh between my interest in biology, nature, and this approach to land planning. Natural resources management is what got me here."
Bill thought about this stretch of the coastline, from the mouths of the Navarro to the Russian Rivers, and what it could be like in the future. He asks, "What brought us here? Driving along the coast, you know there's a wonderful environment down there where the ocean meets the shore. You want to absorb all the sights, sounds and smells, the colors, textures, the cold, the heat. You want to get to it, put your hands in it, get your feet wet, and dabble in the tide pools. We should preserve what's best about the place. And that means access, direct access. If you can't get to it you've missed it all. You just drive by it. You might as well be in a theater."
Seeking and accepting Conservation Easements is an important means of achieving access. "There are a thousand reasons why we should be looking to the larger community, taking a regional view, among them sewers, water, and timber harvesting. It's important that we have leadership," he says.
As for the future of RCLC, Bill sees that "there is too much work for too few people. If we had one staff person, even a part time person, we could do so much more. We've got to work towards that." May that hope become a reality.
GOOD BYES AND HELLOS
Bill Chapman, former Gualala Bluff Trail Project Director, has passed the mantle and materials of the Gualala Bluff Trail, Phase II, to Randy Burke. Bill, Connie and Adam have moved to Sun River, Oregon, where Bill has a new position as manager of that community. For their many contributions to the betterment of the environment we live in, we thank them.
The Chapmans can be reached at P.O. Box 3095, Sun River, OR 97707.
Randy has taken Bill's position. If you haven't yet met Randy, we're sure you will soon. RCLC thanks him for joining the list of RCLC volunteers. Conservation and holding lands in the public trust is good work.
Our Web site's New Look
The Board wishes to thank those that have volunteered
their skills, services and time to the re-make of our web site
Ivan de la Garza
David and Charlotte Scholz
by Bob Rutemoeller
After the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy accepts a conservation easement, or is given real property, its protection of the land has only just begun. From then on, in perpetuity, the Land Trust has the legal obligation to monitor regularly the use of the land and to enforce the restrictions of the easement.
To carry out RCLC's stewardship role, we must visit the site at least once a year to determine the consistency of the use of the land with the easement's restrictions.
For the Gualala Bluff Trail, we monitor and maintain it more frequently, usually weekly.
For conservation easements, we request a contribution to our Stewardship fund to provide funds for our obligations. Some easement donors are not able to provide such a donation and we are in turn asking our members to provide contributions to the RCLC Stewardship fund. If you would like to make a donation to this fund, please indicate that in a separate note addressed to us and write "Stewardship Fund" on the memo line of your check. If you can volunteer your time that would help greatly too. Thanks for your help.
CONSERVATION EASEMENT MONITORS
Heartfelt thank-yous are extended to people who have signed up to walk the Gualala Bluff Trail and provide the weekly maintenance. Thanks to Kristin Drake, Shirley and Dwight Eberly, Mary Sue Ittner, Bob and Sue Lease, Cecilia Moelter, Bob Rutemoeller, Kathleen Sandidge, and Ray and Flo Van de Water.
Two times a year a work party is held to deal with heavier maintenance, for example, spraying poison oak, removing thistles from the river bank, trimming and weeding the landscaping, cutting back dead branches of ceanothus and cutting back the thorns of the Century plant. We thank the following folks who helped recently: Dwight and Shirley Eberly, Mary Sue Ittner, Ray Jackman, Laurie Mueller, Bob Rutemoeller, and Ray and Florence Van de Water.
We can always use the talents of more helpers. Would you be willing to help on work parties to maintain the trail and/or the landscaping around it? Please call Shirley at 785-3327. Thank you.
DONATIONS IN MEMORY AND HONOR
RCLC has received Memorial Gifts in memory of:
Gordon Beebe from Jan and Gene Strand
John J Bower from Rosemarie Hocker
Ladd Griffith from Jo Maxon
Bob Hocker from Win Sinclair
Bob Hocker from Bob Kirkwood
Bob Hocker from Margaret DePrima
Frank Ittner from Jay Faulkner
Frank Ittner from Cecilia and John Moelter
Frank Ittner, a contribution to the RCLC Stewardship fund, from Harry and Lois Lutz
Bill Platt, Past President of The Sea Ranch Foundation, from Wilbur H. Haines
RCLC has received Gifts in honor of:
Bob and Rosemarie Hocker from Jackie and Bryan Morse
Peter Reimuller, for helping acquire Hearn Gulch, from Nancy Wagner
Mary Rhyne from Lena Bullamore and Jeff Gyving
Other special contributions to RCLC are two Solano Press Books on topics of land conservation, given by Warren Jones.
EVENTS AND INFORMATION
Waterbag Concerns -- Ursula Jones, email: Ursula@mcn.org www.gualalariver.org
Gualala River Watershed Council -- Rick Kaye, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
RCLC Annual Meeting -- Shirley Eberly, email: email@example.com
GRWC Holiday Event and Year End Review -- December 17, Gualala Community Center, 6:00 p.m.
RCLC Raffle Drawing -- January 12, 2003, 3:00 p.m., Sundstrom Mall
STORNETTA BROTHERS RANCH
In June 2003, the State Coastal Conservancy (SCC) approved the initiation of negotiations to preserve portions of the Stornetta Brothers Ranch, 1800 acres of prime coastal land adjacent to the Manchester State Park. The close of escrow on this complicated preservation effort is projected for "early 2004." Approximately 1200 acres will be handed over to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for conservation and eventual public access. The Stornetta family will continue to own and farm approximately 1200 acres under an Agricultural Conservation Easement, which prohibits residential development and specified commercial uses. In addition, the family will continue to own the original Stornetta compound, approximately 75 acres. Upon the close of escrow, the BLM will begin a two-phase management plan for all the property except the family compound. Public access will most likely become available upon the completion of the first phase of the management plan. The SCC's action to start negotiations came after the Conservancy received over 350 letters in support for preserving this unique part of the rugged Mendocino County coastline.
Located just a few miles northwest of the town of Point Arena, the entire ranch features over two miles of Pacific Ocean coastline, the estuary/mouth of the Garcia River, and a seven-acre island that is accessible from shore at low tide. The property includes all of the land surrounding the historic Point Arena Lighthouse (circa 1870) and extends inland approximately two miles crossing State Highway 1.
Significant natural resources, including critical wildlife habitat, plentiful water, and diverse vegetation abound. Several riparian corridors, including Hathaway Creek and two miles of the Garcia, extend through the property. The ranch has extensive wetlands, numerous ponds and springs, groves of cypress trees, grassy meadows and sand dunes. Migratory waterfowl (including wintering Arctic tundra swans), shorebirds, raptors and other wildlife thrive on the property's pasturelands and wet areas. It is home to a number of rare, threatened and endangered habitats, plant and animal species.
Rich in cultural history, the mouth of the Garcia River was the main village community of the Bokeya Pomo people who lived in the area for 9,000 to 12,000 years until the early 19th century. The village was called Pda'hau, which literally means "river mouth."
It is unknown what future role, if any, RCLC may play in this preservation project. There could be easement monitoring and related reporting requirements. As public access is developed, there could be a need for additional financial support for trails, fencing, etc. In any event, all can applaud this effort to preserve an important part of this area's natural heritage.
PROGRESS ON HEARN GULCH
Hearn Gulch belongs to you, the public, for your ocean access pleasure. RCLC is working on a maintenance plan to make access safer and easier. For the time being please observe the signs posted at the boundaries of the property. One states: "Area under restoration. No Vehicular Access." The other states "Danger. Bluff tops are eroding and are undercut in sections. Please keep away from the edge." Thank you for understanding.
GETTING READY FOR PRIME TIME:
GUALALA BLUFF TRAIL PHASE II
by Cecilia Moelter
You may wander or watch whales, whitecaps and whimbrels...when you walk alone or with friends along the Bluff Trail today. Tomorrow think about an Autumn 2003 extension from the Surf Motel south to Oceansong Restaurant. The Gualala River will be visible from benches and viewing sites along the way. Stairs and a bridge will take you to a beautiful rock outcropping just above the river, where seals and river otters are visible right here in "downtown."
Driving through Gualala on Highway One, a tourist might be forgiven for believing that it's a retail stop. With attractive gift shops, art galleries and restaurants, the question is, "Where's the sea?" The answer is, "Walk west to the bluff and enjoy the outstanding views of the Gualala River and the Pacific."
In March, RCLC applied to Mendocino County for a 700 foot continuation of the trail.
Several thousand vacationers and locals use the Bluff Trail annually. Each week a member of Redwood Coast Land Conservancy monitors the trail for upkeep of the landscaping, evaluation of the path condition, removal of debris, and visitor counts. Picnic tables and benches behind the Surf Motel provide views of the beach and offer lunch break opportunities under the cypress trees.
A chance to rest during a stroll will be provided with the installation of a bench with a perfect view, between Seacliff and the bluff on the north end of the trail. Bring a book or lunch and relax from this vantage point. This bench is a memorial gift welcomed by the landowner and RCLC.
THE STEWARDSHIP FUND
by Bob Rutemoeller
After the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy accepts a conservation easement, or is given real property, its protection of the land has only just begun. From then on, in perpetuity, the Land Trust has the legal obligation to regularly monitor the use of the land and to enforce the restrictions of the easement.
To carry out RCLC's stewardship role, we must visit the site at least once a year to determine the consistency of the use of the land with the easement's restrictions. For the Gualala Bluff Trail, we monitor and maintain it more frequently, usually weekly.
The RCLC Stewardship Fund provides the funds required to meet these obligations. Please consider making a specific donation to this fund. It makes preservation possible. Thank you.
A WALK ALONG THE GUALALA BLUFF TRAIL:
CLOSE-UP AND PERSONAL
by Ray Van de Water
Directly below the trail lies the Gualala River estuary and summertime lagoon, where the river meets the sea. Here is one of the best places along the coast to observe nature in action. Something is always going on among the wild life, all "doing their thing" in this natural and bountiful haven. Large flocks of sea gulls and pelicans gather to feed, rest and play. Harbor seals, otter, and osprey frequent these waters which contain a great variety of fish and other underwater eatables.
It's a perfect place for birdwatchers: birds wheeling and diving for prey is an exciting scene. During the winter season of the fast-flowing river, the gulls amuse themselves for hours riding the current downstream, then flying back at the last minute in the ocean surf to rejoin the ride, an exciting scene.
A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE ON GBT II
by Dave Scholz
After picking up a copy of a map from RCLC Board Member Cecilia Moelter showing the new southern extension of the Gualala Bluff Trail (GBT II), I walked behind the Surf Super to see just how this addition was going to work. At one point along my exploration I stopped and peered over the bluff edge, looking almost straight down into the Gualala River estuary twenty feet below. It was a clear and windless day. The water in the estuary was calm, transparent and fairly shallow. Suddenly to my immediate right there was a disturbance in the water. It was three leopard-spotted seals. They appeared to be playing: diving, then breaking the surface, doing intertwined barrel rolls and nipping at each other. I seemed close enough to count their whiskers.
Because of my elevated location, they were totally oblivious of me. It was just like being in a silent, floating hot air balloon, positioned directly overhead, a unique view, to say the least. Just then, in a fraction of a second, two of the seals took off in a straight line for about thirty feet, culminating with one of them doing a flip turn so fast along the bottom that it stirred up a cloud of sediment. They returned to my right. One of them surfaced. There was a bright silver fish in its mouth! The fish seemed to be 12 to 18 inches long, perhaps a juvenile Steelhead. The seal's companions made a few attempts to dislodge the catch but soon gave up and all participants quietly disappeared from view.
It all took no more than three minutes.
Now, where else along the entire coast of California could one see so clearly and completely such a wildlife experience? Where else but along the Gualala Bluff II Trail, coming to you courtesy of the hard work of the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy!
RCLC PROFILE - Laurie Mueller
by Rosemarie Hocker
Laurie Mueller, who has a professional background in non-profit management for environmental organizations, currently serves as RCLC's president.
Laurie and her family have been visiting the redwood coast for more than 20 years. She and her husband Leigh moved here full-time two years ago. "The breathtaking beauty of the coastline, the brisk ocean air, the abundant wildlife and the dramatic changes of the seasons were a wonderful refuge from our busy lives in the Bay Area," she says.
"Now that we have moved here full-time, living surrounded by redwoods and ocean vistas has given us the sense of place and calm center that eluded us down in the Bay Area. An unexpected bonus has been the pleasure of living somewhere where you know your neighbors and can build a real sense of community."
When Laurie was a child, her family spent many summers camping in Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Big Sur and Richardson Grove. "I remember walking among the giant redwoods and feeling a sense of awe at their towering beauty. When I later learned about the ecology of the redwood forest and how little of the old growth remained, I was thankful that people had the foresight to set aside some of the forest for future generations."
Laurie graduated from UC Berkeley and received a master's degree in broadcast journalism with a specialty in environmental studies. As a reporter for the public radio station in Washington, DC., she covered the first Earth Day and other environmental stories.
"When I returned to the Bay Area, I felt I had come full circle by working as public relations director for the Sempervirens Fund, a land trust working to preserve redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains. My proudest achievements there were leading the land campaigns for Sempervirens Point and the Rancho Ano Nuevo addition to Big Basin Redwoods State Park."
She then pursued her interest in public broadcasting by working for several years as development and marketing director for KTEH, San Jose's PBS station. "I believe that PBS and NPR are among the strongest voices we have for preserving our natural heritage," she says.
Most recently she served as the Executive Director of the Peninsula Conservation Center Foundation, which runs a large environmental center with a library, offices and meeting rooms where environmental groups and other residents meet and work to preserve and protect the local environment. "The PCCF emphasized collaboration rather than confrontation to bring people with varying points of view together to develop sound environmental solutions" notes Laurie.
When asked why she supports the RCLC, she says, "RCLC offers an excellent way for our community to preserve the natural scenic and wild places that are special to us. As a small, volunteer-run land trust that focuses exclusively on our local coastal lands, the RCLC provides the essential link between funding agencies and landowners interested in protecting all or part of their land from the pressures of development."
"Landowners who care about making sure that the natural features they love will be protected can set up a conservation easement which the RCLC will oversee for them. The property owner benefits by setting aside what he or she values -- often with the added benefit of a tax deduction. The community benefits because that property is not lost to development or logging. It's a classic win/win situation."
"I would encourage everyone who values our coastal land and ocean vistas to become a member of the RCLC and take part in preserving our coast for future generations."
2002 FINANCIAL REPORT
by Bob Rutemoeller, Treasurer
RCLC RAFFLE WRAP UP
by Bob Rutemoeller
On January 12, 2003, we held our Annual Raffle drawing at the Sundstrom Mall in Gualala. Local businesses, artists and many other supporters donated an impressive array of gifts to help RCLC accomplish its mission. Thanks to our many donors who gave prizes and to all who donated funds for raffle tickets. Please send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or a note if you would like to donate a prize for our next event.
IN MEMORY & HONOR
For showing your love and appreciation with a gift in memory or in honor, RCLC thanks you. RCLC received donations in memory of:
Iola Cabassi from Jay Faulkner
Frank Ittner from Jan Sprague
Judith Stronach from Margot and Perry Biestman
Warren Tann from Philip and Ann Graf
RCLC received a donation "In appreciation of sharing your botanical expertise" honoring Mary Rhyne, from Rex and Charlotte Burnett.
ART IN THE REDWOODS
RCLC is pleased to encourage artists to submit works for the RCLC Environmental Award competition. Please contact the Gualala Arts Center, 884-1138, for information about the annual AIR August show, award categories and requirements.
Hearn Gulch Belongs to the Public!
As of Friday, December 14, 2001, RCLC, on behalf of the public, is the new owner of the Hearn Gulch Beach and Headlands. Congratulations! Thanks to everyone, especially Moira McEnespy, Karyn Gear, Jack Judkins, and Hong Truong of The Coastal Conservancy, for their invaluable help, and Barbara Russell and Cecilia Moelter of RCLC for their hard work in making this happen.
The public now owns this precious piece of coastal property at Mile Marker 10.4 on Mendocino County Highway One. It includes the Hearn Gulch bluff top and pocket beach. Dr. Jon Bell was the previous owner.
RCLC thanks Dr. Bell for his patience over the several months of negotiations. RCLC was able to buy the property through a generous grant from CalTrans and the Coastal Conservancy and would not have achieved this without their financial help. Many local persons made significant contributions. Peter Reimuller collected signatures and statements of public use and composed a book of pictures for better understanding of the site. Mary Rhyne wrote the excellent plant analysis.
The public is invited to enjoy the spectacular setting. Please park autos near the road. Improvements anticipated include filling in the rutted areas, defining a parking area, restoring the disturbed land and providing a simple stairway down to the beach. The Coastal Conservancy will provide some funds for these improvements. RCLC is also seeking Stewardship donations toward maintaining this beautiful coastal access property. Call 785-3327, or write RCLC, PO Box 1511, Gualala, CA for information or to offer support. A celebration of this acquisition will be announced in the Independent Coast Observer.
by Bob Rutemoeller
After the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy accepts a conservation easement or is given real property, its protection of the land has only just begun. From then on, in perpetuity, the Land Trust has the legal obligation to monitor the use of the land and to enforce the restrictions of the easement.
To carry out RCLC's stewardship role, we must visit the site as needed or at least once a year, to determine the consistency of the use of the land with the easement's restrictions. For the Gualala Bluff Trail, we monitor and maintain it more frequently, usually weekly.
For new conservation easements, we request a contribution to our Stewardship Fund to provide funding for our obligations. Some easement donors are not able to provide such a donation and we are in turn asking our members to provide contributions to the RCLC Stewardship Fund for this purpose. If you would like to make a donation to this fund, please indicate that in a note or check that box on our reply envelope.
RCLC BOARD OF DlRECTORS - 2002
Among the many volunteers who serve to fulfill the
RCLC mission are the members of the Board of Directors
FRONT ROW (l to r) Bob Rutemoeller, treasurer; Rosemarie Hocker, secretary; Shirley Eberly, president; Flo Van de Water, advisor.
BACK ROW Jerry Powers, director; Bill Weimeyer, director; Ray Van de Water, director; Laurie Mueller, vice-president. Cecilia Moelter, director, is not pictured.
RCLC PROFILE - Mary Rhyne
Interviewed by Rosemarie Hocker
Mary Rhyne is a long time volunteer with the California Native Plant Society and RCLC. Since her father worked for the National Park Service, as a child Mary spent summers living in whatever national park he was assigned to. "We were lucky and learned so much," she said. "Wild land's conservation was so important to him."
Mary earned her undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley and studied at UCLA, University of Hawaii, and UC Davis, from which she received her MS in Horticulture. Vocationally, she was a Landscape Contractor, licensed to practice in California. One of her jobs was working at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden in Strawberry Creek Canyon.
In the early 1960s, she helped start the California Native Plant Society (CNPS). "A lot of people saw a need for it--botanists, foresters, others. Everything jelled at the same time. I was on the state board." It was at that time she started the first plant sale in Berkeley, helping to make CNPS financially secure.
After getting her masters and moving to the coast where she had visited as a child, she planned to do tissue culture research. "I could do the research and send my samples to the laboratory. Tissue culture intrigued me because you could eliminate plant diseases." The plan was a good one; however, she found that sitting still for hours was miserable for her back, so she changed course. "I love propagating plants, so that's what I did." For thirteen years she lived in her ocean bluff home, where both the soil and climate were fine for the exotic plants she loved growing.
She moved to her Lindal Cedar home near the ridge six years ago and helped with its design. Conservation extends to many parts of Mary's living style. Her home is off the grid. Radiant and solar heat warms the rooms. Large windows and skylights bring in light by day. Fluorescent light serves at night.
"When I moved up here I said, all right, stay with natives. I hoped the poor soil would let things grow. Manzanita, shore juniper, rosemary, baccharis, ribes (native currant) love it. So do succulents from the Catalina Islands. Huckleberry and coast rhododendron do well. The sand and rock provide good drainage."
Several years ago the Lions Club and CNPS made a plan to eradicate pampas grass. "I was among the Native Plant Society volunteers. Our job was to cut and spray the plants. I was the lightest weight, so I was selected to go over the bank. Someone had to do it. It's foolish to get rid of plants in the easy places and not spray in the hard places on the banks."
With a tree trimmer's leather band around her waist, a two-gallon pump sprayer on her back and a rope hitched to the band at the back, Mary was lowered over the bank. "I knew then I was going to need to go down farther so I called 'Gimme five!'--give me five more feet. I kept on going, but when I found I was up to my armpits in shrubs, and I couldn't lift a leg to take a step, I thought this is crazy. That's when I stopped." Although the community effort was effective, it was not continued.
Mary feels she's been most helpful to RCLC by doing botanical surveys. A year ago she and Dorothy Scherer completed the survey on the Dobbins Conservation Easement and last fall she made a report on the Gualala Bluff Trail. Her advice is that when trails are made, "keep the 'good' natives, such as ceanothus, arctostaphylos (manzanita), myrica (wax myrtle), ferns, and fringed corn lily."
Being outdoors, camping, hiking, traveling, and puttering around in the garden are what brings her great peace. "Weeding is a form of meditation", she claims. As for the future, Mary wants to support efforts like RCLC. "I see more and more interest in conserving the land. We have a lot to look forward to." Mary's life work in conservation is an ongoing gift to our coastal community. We are happy Mary is an Advisor and supporter of the RCLC mission.
In memory and honor of Robert Anderson by Janann Strand. Jan writes, "This gift is in appreciation for launching Friends of the Forest."
In honor of Harmony Susalla by Merit and Kim Herman. Merit is Harmony's brother who sent this gift as a Christmas present.
In honor of Karen Patrone, a gift was made by Abigail Jensen.
With grateful thanks to Ray and Flo Van de Water for their generous gift to the Stewardship Fund.
by Rosemarie Hocker
The scenic beauty of the lower portion of the
estuary as the Gualala River winds westward
toward the town of Gualala and the Pacific Ocean
Redwood Coast Land Conservancy
P.O. Box 1511
Gualala, CA 95445
Phone: (707) 884-4426