Stretching westward approximately ten miles over the Pacific Ocean from the North American mainland, Point Reyes has a uniquely isolated feeling for the California coast. With frequent wind and fog, its outstretched position also made it a real hazard for  navigating vessels . As shipping increased, more frequent  shipwrecks  eventually necessitated the construction of the iconic Point Reyes Lighthouse in 1870. As our remote and rocky peninsula began to communicate its presence across the ocean with light and sound, untold numbers of lives, ships, and precious cargo were saved.
Connections Made
Less than half a century later, a new form of long-distance communication made its home at Point Reyes when the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company constructed a state-of-the-art radio transmission station on the coastal prairie in Bolinas. As with the lighthouse, construction of this station meant shipping huge manufactured parts from Europe around the southern tip of South America to San Francisco, then across rugged Marin County to Point Reyes by whatever means available.
Early Coding
In those days, staying connected meant tapping out lengthy coded messages on a telegraph key, like the one shown here.
Photo Courtesy of Bolinas Museum: Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company Telegraph Key, 1917, Iron, Bolinas Museum History Archives, Gift of the Clarence Childers Family in memory of Clarence Edward Childers, 2016.8.1
Present Day Connections
These days, as many of us are experiencing a different kind of isolation, we are turning to new forms of communication to bridge our socially-distant lives. Like the lighthouse and radio station, Point Reyes National Seashore Association and our partners at the Bolinas Museum would like to remind you that we are here! When the time is right, we hope you can return to explore our history, participate in our community, and maybe even seek some isolation in nature.

Best Regards,
Isaac Taylor
Education and Outreach Analyst

We acknowledge Memorial Day is different this year, with fewer chances to gather with loved ones and as communities to honor lives lost while serving in the U.S. military. In the spirit of this day we want to share a rendition of "Taps" by Point Reyes National Seashore Ranger John Eleby. Visit this site to learn how the National Park Service is commemorating Memorial Day this year.

Earlier this month our nation honored fallen officers of the peace. In this NPS video the National Park Service honors law enforcement rangers who died in the line of duty (it starts with Ranger Eleby's "Taps" scenes in Point Reyes before spotlighting the many parks affected by the tragic loss of a ranger).
Morse Code Guide
Morse Code
  • Morse code was invented in the 1830s.
  • Do you know what the first public message was? It was "What God hath wrought."
  • Andrew Carnegie learned to decipher Morse code by ear and worked as a telegraph operator as a boy.
  • Up until the 1990s pilots and boatmen were required to know Morse code. It was extremely important in maritime shipping and aviation.
  • Would you like to learn Morse code? Here is a great Amateur Radio Practice Site to begin! And here is a very good introduction to Morse code on Wikipedia should you wish to learn more of the history.
Fast forward to the present day. How are you communicating these days? If you, too, are like us and spending more of your time on Zoom, we have just the thing for you!
For the next few weeks, through our Park In Place newsletters, we will share two Zoom backgrounds. We want you to have a picture of your favorite seashore.
Select one or both of the images below to download.
Cypress Tree Tunnel
 leads to the Historic KPH Maritime Radio Receiving Station.
Lighthouse at Point Reyes
Get there the easy way –
no fog, no wind, no sweat!
Photo by Richard Gaston
Brown Bag Virtual Science Lecture

Thursday, May 28 - 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm FREE

Join us online as Jules Evens, Principal, Avocet Research Associates and author of ' Natural History of the Point Reyes Peninsula ', talks about California Black Rail ecology and his research into their use of restored tidal wetlands including the Giacomini Wetlands.  REGISTER HERE.
Jules Evens conducts wetland monitoring, biological assessments, and survey populations of at-risk species throughout the greater Bay Area. We are thrilled to share his PRNSA-funded research at this free lunch-time science talk.  California Black Rail photo by Jules Evens
Upcoming Virtual Events
Eocene fish fossil, Green River Formation, WY
Does Earth have a memory? (... and if it does, what does it remember?) How do we make sense of a story extending 4.5 billion years into the past? And what events in that long history have left their marks most indelibly on the planet we call home. Please join us in a fun and engaging introduction to the concept of deep time, presented as a backdrop for better understanding not only the world of the past, but also the world of today, and where we might be headed in the world of tomorrow.

Don Jolley is a recently retired teacher of Maths and Sciences. His career spanned three decades at the Bolinas School where he developed a robust program in outdoor education, leading students and their parents into the mountains and deserts in California, and across the Western Interior to the Colorado Plateau. He has been a resident of West Marin since 1979, and currently lives in Inverness Park with his wife Cenize and their beloved dog Zion.

SLIDING SCALE - donations benefit the Bolinas Museum and PRNSA

REGISTER HERE Instructions and webinar link will be provided upon registration.

Thursday, June 11 - 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Getting outside has never been more important during this time of isolation and anxiety. What is it about nature that is so important to our physical and mental health that our public lands are now—finally—considered “essential”? Parks and other natural spaces are critical for our well-being yet access remains a major issue for most.

Join us in a discussion of these timely issues with Florence Williams, journalist and the author of The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier and More Creative— which was written in part during her 2018 residency at the Mesa Refuge.

Dr. Anna O’Malley, local integrative medicine physician and Director of Natura Institute for Ecology and Medicine, and Donna Faure, PRNSA’s Executive Director, will join Florence in conversation.  

Books can be ordered through Point Reyes Books
SLIDING SCALE - donations benefit presenting nonprofit organizations

REGISTER HERE - Instructions and webinar link will be provided upon registration.
We hope you’ll share what you’re up to with us through our #ParkInPlace campaign! 

Stay tuned on social media and don’t forget to tag us in your posts and stories on Facebook and Instagram .
#ParkInPlace and #PointReyes_PRNSA

If you do not use these platforms, please email me your ideas, stories,
and photos at [email protected].
Point Reyes National Seashore | (415) 663-1200 x 310 | [email protected] |