by Alex Gugel , all rights reserved

Pigeon Point

Park Brochure

brochure Pigeon Point - Park Brochure
Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park Our Mission 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. In June 1853 the Bostonbased Carrier Pigeon, a clipper ship on her maiden voyage, was torn apart by a fog-blanketed rock off Whale Point. California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact the park at (650) 879-2120. If you need this publication in an alternate format, contact interp@parks.ca.gov. 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 Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park 210 Pigeon Point Road, off Highway 1 Pescadero, CA 94060 (650) 879-2120 Front cover photo courtesy of Frank S. Balthis © 2002 California State Parks (Rev. 2015) Thereafter, it was called Pigeon Point. P erched where coast and ocean meet, the lighthouse at Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park beckons motorists traveling Highway 1. They can’t miss the stately 115-foot structure, the tallest operating lighthouse on the West Coast. Pigeon Left: Fresnel lens; right: docents dressed as lighthouse keepers Point Light Station is a glass-enclosed room at the top of the listed on the National Register of Historic lighthouse, the lens mechanism stood 16 Places  —  a reminder of the days when feet tall and weighed two tons. Its designer, whalers and Gold Rush-era clipper ships French physicist Augustin Jean Fresnel, used fought gales, stiff seas, jagged coastal rocks, 1,008 handcrafted, brass-framed lenses and and unforgiving fog. prisms to concentrate the source of light, THE POINT’S COLORFUL PAST maximizing light efficiency to throw its beam up to 24 miles. Pigeon Point’s original name, Whale Point, The lenses and prisms, stacked was inspired by the gray whales that migrate vertically to form two dozen nine-and-apast the point. California’s boom from Gold half-foot tall panels, were joined together Rush to statehood brought many ships to to form a six-foot-diameter circular frame these perilous waters. The clipper Carrier Pigeon, on her maiden voyage in 1853, ran into fog-blanketed rocks off Whale Point (renamed Pigeon Point to honor the ship). Between 1865 and 1868, three other major shipwrecks affirmed the danger of this foggy location. Finally, in November 1872, a lighthouse was built with a light and fog signal that guided mariners for more than a century. The lighthouse was outfitted with the most powerful lens of the day —  a firstorder (the largest) Fresnel lens. Sitting in with the light source in the middle. A clockwork mechanism rotated the panels, producing a light flash precisely every ten seconds. The lighthouse’s signature beam continues today, flashing light from an exterior automated beacon at ten-second intervals. A modern navigation aid replaced the original fog signal in 1976. The lighthouse sits on an eight-foot foundation. Its walls, four-and-a-half feet thick at the base and tapering to two feet at the top, employ structurally connected inner and outer walls that were strong enough to emerge undamaged from the 1906 San Francisco and 1989 Loma Prieta earthquakes. RESTORATION EFFORTS The lighthouse tower is closed to tours. Experts painstakingly dismantled the Fresnel lens and reassembled it for display in the Fog Signal Building. The California State Parks Foundation is raising funds to restore and reopen the tower to the public. For more information, visit www.calparks.org. Spiral staircase inside the lighthouse NATURAL HISTORY History may be the park’s top billing, but the point’s natural beauty is also a major attraction. Its high bluff provides scenic views of harbor and elephant seals and whales. During spring and winter migrations, the whales travel relatively close to the lighthouse grounds, particularly in the shallow waters of the cove south of the point. Standing on the station’s boardwalk overlook, visitors can observe northward-bound California gray whale cows and their new calves taking advantage of the safety of the cove. Farther out, the spouts of humpback and blue whales can often be seen. About 50 species of migratory and native birds live here, including marbled murrelets, an endangered species that nests in nearby old-growth redwood forests and feeds in coastal waters. Tide pools are a short walk north of Pigeon Point (do not disturb or remove tide pool specimens). Below the point, frothy waves washing over rock ledges cause sea palms to sway. WHERE, WHEN, AND WEATHER Pigeon Point Light Station is approximately midway between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz, near Pescadero. The grounds are open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset. Be prepared for unpredictable weather. Rain may fall between November and March, and even summer brings chilly fog, particularly in the mornings. Stiff northwest winds can develop anytime. Weather permitting, park docents recount the light station’s rich history while leading visitors among the old buildings and around the grounds from Thursdays through Mondays. Exhibits and a bookstore are also available for visitors. For docent tour schedules, a virtual tour of the light station, and more park information, visit the Pigeon Point Light Station SHP pages at www.parks.ca.gov/pigeonpoint. PIGEON POINT LIGHTHOUSE HOSTEL Four Light Station buildings, converted to lodging for up to 59 people, are operated by Hostelling International. Accommodations are available in male, female, and co-ed bunkrooms, as well as private rooms for individuals, couples, or families. Gray whales are believed to live up to 80 years and grow as long as 50 feet. Hostel guests share bathrooms, kitchens, and living rooms. To make reservations, call (650) 879-0633 from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Information is also available at www.pigeonpointhostel.org. ACCESSIBLE INFORMATION The boardwalk, the Fog Signal Building, exhibits, and bookstore are accessible, as are parking, restrooms, and the picnic area near the park entrance. For accessibility updates, visit http://access.parks.ca.gov. PLEASE REMEMBER • Except for service animals, pets are not permitted on the lighthouse grounds. • Smoking is not permitted in the park. • Cliffs can collapse onto the rocks below — stay on designated pathways. • A public phone and restrooms are near the entrance to the park grounds. NEARBY STATE PARKS • Pescadero State Beach 14½ miles south of Half Moon Bay on Highway 1 (650) 879-2170 • Año Nuevo State Park 1 New Years Creek Road, off Highway 1, Pescadero 94060 (650) 879-0227 / 879-2025 • Butano State Park, 1500 Cloverdale Road, Pescadero 94060 (650) 879-2040 This park receives support in part through a nonprofit organization. For more information contact: Coastside State Parks Association New Years Creek Rd., Pescadero, CA 94060 www.coastsidestateparks.org Pigeon Point Light Station Sta te His toric Pa rk Pig Accessible Feature Picnic Area Park Building Restrooms d PIGEON POINT HOSTEL Telephone Viewpoint ne a ’s L Mel Council Circle S t ai r w ay Information Oil Storage Building Pigeon St at io n Rd Lighthouse Whaler’s Cove P IG E O N P O INT L IG HT S TAT IO N STAT E HIS T O R IC PA R K y Fence wa (beach access) Pacific Ocean Parking W alk Pistachio Beach Roa (beach a cces s) ic Trail bl Road Point Park Entrance Pu Legend to Half Moon Bay e on Watch House Point Fog Signal Building (Exhibits) Road Carpenter Shop (Park Store) 1 Lighthouse (closed) 0 50 0 PI G EO N PO I N T L I G H T S TAT I O N S TAT E H I S T O R I C PA R K d Pig Pacific Ocean ane L Mel 0 0.25 0.3 0.5 0.6 0.75 0.9 1.2 Km San Francisco to Santa Cruz Pacifica 1 Mi Pigeon Point Light Station SHP 40 Meters Mt Diablo SP Hayward 580 Livermore 101 Pacifica SB Montara SB GrayWhale Cove SB Point Montara Light Station Half Moon Bay SB San Gregorio SB Pomponio SB Pescadero SB Bean Hollow SB 150 Feet 30 Oakland 80 92 San Mateo 1 Whaler’s Cove see detail map 0 GGNRA 20 1Half Moon Bay ’s Park Entrance oa int R Po eon 100 10 680 880 Fremont 280 84 35 Pescadero San José 85 Castle Butano SP Rock Big Basin SP 17 Redwoods SP Año Nuevo SP 1 to Santa Cruz 101 0 0 10 10 20 Mi 20 1 30 Km 152 © 2002 California State Parks (Rev. 2015)

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