Tuesday, June 25, 2013


The wooden stakes planted in the Manila dunes are gone again, spurned as an un-sanctioned environmental experiment. The Manila Community Services District removed them today, and is storing the slats at its office if someone wants to pick them up. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL/North Coast Journal

According to Steve Werner, a Humboldt County building and planning supervisor, the district had to either amend its existing permit to include the stakes or else remove them from the beach. Werner said the installation of the stakes was "surprising to see without district authorization." The Manila Community Services District owns the land and already has a permit for dune restoration, but that permit doesn't include the rogue stake experiment, which went in without any official approval.

"I didn't see a need for a permit. We're just repairing," said Uri Driscoll, who compared his group's stake installation to children building in the sand. Now that he has learned the county sees it differently, he plans to investigate a little more....

Someone first removed the stakes over the weekend, but no one claimed responsibility. Driscoll and Reel wasted no time re-planting them, adding a sign that read, "Dune repair in progress. Please do not disturb."

Coastal Commission District Manager Bob Merrill said his office has contacted the commission's enforcement staff in San Francisco about the issue. While the area is not in a zone where the Coastal Commission issues permits, Merrill wanted to keep the San Francisco office in the loop.... READ THE REST, at the link.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Frustrated Trail Advocates Launch Rogue Experiment on the Dunes

Dennis Mayo of McKinleyville sits horseback while Ray Reel
of Manila pounds wooden stakes into the sand.
Yesterday afternoon, a small group of people, two horses and a dog hiked along the sandy path from the Manila Community Center across the rolling dunes to the ocean. When they reached the front line of dunes, where vegetation peters out and the beach slopes down to the coastline, two men began shoving and hammering wooden slats into the sand. - Ryan Burns/North Coast Journal

Before long they had several dozen of the shims standing upright in the valley between two dunes. The planks looked like tiny frontier grave crucifixes waiting for their crossbeams. Before they left, they shoved more planks into the sand of an adjacent valley.

The group was attempting a bit of guerrilla dune restoration, using an unauthorized “bio-mimicry” technique they’d learned about ◼ online. The slats, the men explained, are supposed to mimic dune vegetation by catching wind-blown sand and allowing it to accumulate at their bases.

...Here’s the briefest of backgrounds: The men, including Uri Driscoll, Bill Weigle, Dennis Mayo and Ray Reel, are avid horsemen and trail-access advocates who for years now have been at odds with various dune management/restoration agencies. (For more detail ◼ see Heidi Walters’ cover story from April 2011.) They argue that the 30-year, multi-agency campaign to remove European beach grass (Ammophila arenaria) is a fool’s errand that’s only serving to destabilize the dunes — wiping out their favorite horse trails in the process. They hope that their experiment, which they planned to announce today before the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, will reopen a debate on best practices — a debate, in their opinion, that they and their ilk have been systematically left out of.....

As she stated in her May 21 “My Word” piece for the Times-Standard, Vander Meer said that dunes are naturally mobile and dynamic, so she’d be curious to see the experiment sites, which the experimenters described as “blow-outs.” She added that her organization and others in the Humboldt Dunes Cooperative work with scientists and other experts, and while she’s skeptical about the wood-slat technique, she won’t rule it out. ”I think we’re always open to new knowledge, facts and information.”

Monday, June 17, 2013

Coastal Restoration Using Biomimicry

In order to solve rapid erosion problems off the Cape's Atlantic coast Gordon Peabody and his team at Safe Harbor Environmental use Biomimicry, a simple and effective solution. This is a report from Boston Channel 5's Chronicle program.

Sandcastles at Wildberries

This Saturday morning, a section of Wildberries parking lot (◼ 747 13th Street, Arcata, CA.) will be loaded with sand and local volunteers will be designing a sand sculpture in order to hype the upcoming Sand Sculpture Festival at the Manila Dunes on June 29th! ◼ Wildberries posts A big thank you also to McKenny's Do-It-Best Building Center, Wes Green Landscaping, and Friends of the Dunes for making this happen!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Lost Coast Trail

A 24 mile three day backpacking trip along California's most undeveloped stretch of shoreline. - everytrail.com
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 24 miles / 39 km
Duration: Multiple days
Overview: The Lost Coast is an 80 mile stretch of the California coast where the builders of Highway 1 decided to go around because it was too rough. That left this coast all to us backcountry folks as the cars, the people, and the noise keeps a good distance away. This trip takes you down 24 miles of the Lost Coast starting at Mattole and ending at Black Sands Beach.