by Alex Gugel , all rights reserved

Estero Bluffs

Park Brochure

brochure Estero Bluffs - Park Brochure
Our Mission Estero Bluffs State Park The mission of California State Parks is to provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. The rocky shores and windswept bluffs of this former dairy farm offer unsurpassed ocean views. California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact the park at (805) 772-6101. This publication can be made available in alternate formats. Contact interp@parks.ca.gov or call (916) 654-2249. CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS P.O. Box 942896 Sacramento, CA 94296-0001 For information call: (800) 777-0369 (916) 653-6995, outside the U.S. 711, TTY relay service www.parks.ca.gov Discover the many states of California.™ Estero Bluffs State Park 1 Mile North of Cayucos on Hwy. 1 Cayucos, CA 93430 Latitude: 35.4608 Longitude: -120.965 (805) 772-6101 © 2013 California State Parks A t Estero Bluffs State Park, onshore breezes carry salt spray over secluded beaches. From December through March, visitors stand on the bluffs—a designated whale-watching site—to glimpse gray whales migrating south. Cool fog rules the mornings, especially in summer. About midday, the sun entices visitors to walk the trails, observe the sea- and shorebirds, and study tide pool life. Visitors may hike, kayak, study nature, and enjoy the seaside. PARK HISTORY Native California Indians The ancestors of today’s Chumash and Salinan people lived here for at least 10,000 years. They adapted as needed to environmental changes and used the marine and terrestrial resources available to them. In 1769 Don Gaspar de Portolá led the first California overland expedition between San Diego and today’s San Francisco Bay. One of his campsites was near the northern boundary of today’s park. Portolá’s explorations paved the way for the founding of three nearby missions: San Antonio de Padua (1771), San Luis Obispo de Tolosa (1772), and San Miguel Arcangel (1797). With the missions came unfamiliar European diseases that decimated the indigenous population. Today, the Chumash and Salinan people are working to revive their native languages and cultural traditions. The Mission Period and Beyond Beach at San Gerónimo Creek Between 1771 and 1833, what is now the park was mission forces to stop this coastal development land, used for cattle grazing. In 1833, and preserve the open space. The Trust 12 years after Mexico’s independence for Public Lands purchased the property in from Spain, the missions were secularized. 2000 and deeded it to the State in March Mexico granted 8,893 acres (Rancho 2002. In order to protect the park’s bluffs San Gerónimo) to Rafael José Serapio and its magnificent viewshed, the Trust gave Villavicencio (later shortened to Villa) in the Cayucos Land Conservancy a perpetual 1842. Much of the park lies within the conservation easement that limited activities grant’s boundaries. and facilities (no restrooms or drinking Villa’s heirs later sold the property to water) in the day-use-only park. dairyman Abram Muscio. The restored Aermotor windmill near San Gerónimo Geology Creek is a relic of Muscio’s dairy days. In The complex geology of the park—part 1965 Muscio’s beneficiaries sold the land to of the “Franciscan Formation”—makes up developers planning to build a resort and most of the coast range. Perhaps as old as multiple residences. 140 million years, the Formation dates from By the 1980s, residents of Cayucos and the Cretaceous or even the later Jurassic the surrounding communities had joined period. This former sea floor initially slid needlegrass crowd non-native Grasslands along the bluffs shelter grasses on the terraces. black-bellied slender salamanders, California barley and California king snakes, Pacific tree fescue edge the bluffs. frogs, rattlesnakes, insects Coastal Scrub— and rodents. Coyote bush and Shorebirds, sea birds, California sagebrush song birds, raptors join a layer of native and waterfowl live here, plantain, dudleya and including bushtits, redWestern California fuschia. tailed hawks, sanderlings, snowy plover Coastal Sea-bluff Scrub— cormorants, pelicans and Along bluff faces and black oystercatchers. terraces, large stands Sandy habitat shelters of scrub seem dwarfed. threatened western Coastal scrub on a terrace trail Steep areas are home to snowy plovers. beneath the North American Plate; it was coastal golden yarrow and Wetlands are home to later uplifted to the surface. Chert and saw-toothed goldenbush. the threatened California blueschist appear where the tectonic Rocky Outcrops—Outcrops are red-legged frog. It dines California redplates scraped together under heat and surrounded by grasses and on various invertebrates, legged frog pressure as the ocean plate sank beneath seasonal wildflowers such as including grasshoppers the continental plate. The formations California poppies. and water insects such as visible today were part of this ancient Wetlands—Several seasonal creeks, backswimmers, water-diving sea floor. salt- and freshwater marshes, and beetles, water striders and emergent wetland areas—prolific water fleas. Plants with cattails, rushes and Above the bluffs at least Dunes—The dunes are mostly covered sedges—comprise this park’s seven butterfly species and in saltbush and beach bur-sage. In some wetlands habitats. four damselfly and dragonfly Red-tailed areas, vegetation from nearby wetland and species float along on hawk saltgrass areas overlaps onto the dunes. Wildlife the breeze. Grasslands—Blufftop non-native wild Cottontail rabbits, mule deer, rye and wild oats are the result of past coyotes, ground squirrels and ACCESSIBLE features agricultural practices. California sagebrush striped skunks live in grasslands This undeveloped park and sticky monkeyflower grow along and coastal scrub. Harbor seals currently has no wheelchair bluff edges, south-facing slopes and and threatened sea otters use access. However, accessibility rocky outcrops. intertidal areas to rest or forage. is continually improving. Native Grasslands—San Luis Obispo Migrating whales pass beyond For updates, visit Indian paintbrush and native purple the bluffs December through March. Sea otter http://access.parks.ca.gov. please remember • Hours are from 6 a.m. to sunset. • The park has no restrooms or water. • Dogs are allowed on leash down coast, south of San Gerónimo Creek. • Horses and bicycles are not permitted in the park. • Camping and ground fires are prohibited. • All natural and cultural park features are protected by law and must not be disturbed in any way. • Stay on trails to avoid poison oak and ticks that may carry Lyme disease. Brown pelicans; view of Morro Rock This park is supported in part through the Central Coast State Parks Association 20 State Park Road, Morro Bay, CA 93442 (805) 772-2694 • www.ccspa.info

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