Is An Important Place To Me, And Many Of You Have Spent Some Time With Me Exploring Its Magical Reef Which Is Internationally Known In the Marine Science Commuity For Its Amazing Biodiversity.
Right now there’s a state government review underway to formalize the boundaries of the reserve as part of the Marine Life Protection Act.
Supporters of the reserve have been hoping to make the reserve a little bigger and strengthen its protections and make them permanent. Our preferred proposal, which is endorsed by the board of the Friends of Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, the Ocean Conservancy, and other marine conservation organizations, is called “Proposal 4”.
But recreational anglers have organized to support a proposal (Called Proposal 2XA) that may WEAKEN the current reserve, actually cutting it in half and opening the southern part to even more fishing than is allowed under current rules. Recently they have executed a letter/email-writing campaign that makes it look like there is tremendous support for their proposal and VERY LITTLE for ours!
A mile-long stretch of beach front along the reef dotted coastline is being acquired by San Mateo County for a marine reserve.
The reason, explained the County Board of Supervisors, in authorizing the acquisition, is to provide a protected area where the marine resources can grow.
Support for the project has been given by Supervisor Jean Fassler. The original plan for the project was presented by the technical staff of the San Mateo County Planning Commission some time ago. The commission then presented it to the board of supervisors.
One point they cited was the fact that abalone, a choice gourmet seafood, is rapidly disappearing because of lack of protection.
The area involved covers the frontal surf areas of both Montara and Moss Beach and is actually an expansion of the initial county proposal to provide public access to Nye’s beach.
But with 175 petitions urging more public access and greater protection of Reef Point and Nye’s Beach, the supervisors decided to acquire additional lands along the beachfront. Most of the property is between the southern end of the Montara Sanitary District land and Cypress Avenue in Moss Beach.
County Acquisition Agent Robert Friday said little land will be taken away from the beach other than to provide access.
The idea is to leave the area in virtually its natural state while still providing a beach area for the county’s burgeoning population.
Financing of the plan will be aided by funds from the federal open-space program.
Development calls for only a marine reserve rather than a park. Plans call for parking, sanitary facilities and perhaps a marine walkway on the bluff.
The other day I stumbled across a “storybook” I had forgotten about. The cover said:
Memories of the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, Moss Beach
Written by a friend* of the Wienkes.
When I was a little girl, in the 1890s, my family visited famous Pebble Beach near Pescadero. We stayed at the Swanton House in town, and in the morning a horse-drawn wagon took us to Pebble Beach where we had a great time sorting through the piles of colorful stones. One was pretty enough to wear as a pendant. I will always treasure the gem.
But there was another very special beach north of Half Moon Bay. We called it Moss Beach for the variety of mosses found there. I learned about the mosses from Dr. David Starr Jordan–the first president of Stanford University. He was a marine biologist who loved studying the living things at Moss Beach.
(Photo: David Starr Jordan and his dog, Jock.)
There was so much to discover, graceful sea urchins and rainbow colored shells–abalone. This was a new world for me.
That wasn’t all. Moss Beach was like a rock garden, with unusual formations and patterns everywhere. Some of the rocks had names. I remember Spray Rock and Arch Rock. Where did the rocks come from?
(Photo: This looks like “Rock-Hedge.”)
We would spend a week at the Wienke Hotel, run by Mr. and Mrs. Wienke, and their ambitious daughter, Lizzie, who wanted to be a teacher. That’s where we met Dr Jordan-who came to study the reefs, which at low tide, revealed fantastic sea life, unbelievable marine curiosities. The Wienkes were wonderful hosts and the remarkable beach only steps away.
(Photo: The Wienke’s Hotel in Moss Beach.)
I wish I had paid more attention to the guests who stayed at the Wienke’s hotel. They did sign a big book, a register of historic names.
Mr. Wienke had a plan to make Moss Beach, the town, as beautiful as the unique beach. He spent hours planting hundreds of cypress trees and one of the lanes was called Wienke Way.
My family lived in San Francisco, and we took the exciting Ocean Shore Railroad tour to Moss Beach. There was the prettiest train station there. And if you wanted to return to the City, the Red Star Auto driver fares weren’t high. He kept his car parked at the train station so he wasn’t hard to find!
Of course, the highlight of the train ride, was traveling over Devil’s Slide, enjoying ocean views I’d never seen before–and wondering if we’d make it to Moss Beach on time. More than once some big boulders tumbled onto the tracks and the train had to back up to Pacifica. That’s what I heard–it never happened to us.
Not far from the Wienke’s charming retreat, on the sandy beach, Charlie Nye built a cafe and dance platform. Right there by the reefs teeming with sea life. Charlie was the blind man who told stories about famous writers like Jack London renting his rowboats.On hot days the beach was crowded with picnickers.
(Photo: Nye’s on Moss Beach on a hot Coastside day.)
Everybody wanted to investigate the reefs at low tide, and the children played hide-and-seek games around the rocks, some of which were enormous enough to sit on.
My uncle took some of the pictures you see here.
* If you wonder who the writer of the Coastside Fairy Tale is, the “friend” of the Wienke’s is me, June.