Jennifer Savage / @ 8:06 a.m. / Humboldt, Ocean

This Week in Ocean: Minus Tides, Positive News, Steady Opportunities

Only the most daring souls in Humboldt get to see much below the ocean’s surface. Cold, dark water and the threat of sharks keep most of us safely ashore or paddling along on top. But you can glimpse a bit more than usual this week as the mornings bring minus tides – tides so low that normally covered rocks and sandbars lie exposed for the viewing.


Still there

If you’ve never seen the shipwrecked remains of the USS Milwaukee, for example, the next three days offer a window to that piece of Humboldt history. Take your coffee to go (in a reusable mug, obv) and head out to the spit for a look.

Maybe hunting and gathering is your thing – and shouldn’t we all be at least a little skilled in living off the sea? The low tides also provide ample opportunity for clamming. Check out Kenny Priest’s always useful “Fishing on the North Coast” column in the T-S.

Also of note: that same column references the completion of California’s first statewide underwater park system. In case you missed it, the state made history June 6 when the Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously to adopt a network of marine protected areas for northern California

The occasion garnered national attention, prompting an AP story, coast-to-coast newspaper coverage, plus a follow-up story in the Washington Post – Australia leaps forward with the world’s biggest marine reserve, while California continues to lead the U.S. as the first state with a full coastal network of protection.

Anyone who’s followed the Marine Life Protection Act’s unfolding along the North Coast knows one of the toughest challenges faced locally was ensuring traditional tribal harvest could continue without interruption. Thanks to the support of our elected officials, state leaders, Fish & Game staff and the Fish & Game commissioners, what originally seemed beyond resolution evolved into a catalyst for positive change.

As Priscilla Hunter of the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council noted: “The start of this process was very difficult and contentious … but we have ended in a very positive place with a strong framework for future tribal consultation on important conservation and environmental issues.”

Where are these new ocean parks? See the statewide map here.

Do good stuff

Want to get hands on and help the beach?

  • Wednesday, June 20 Friend of the Dunes seeks volunteers to help out tomorrow from 5 to 6:30 p.m. to help develop the native landscaping around the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center and on the green roof. Volunteers will be trained to recognize native and non-native plants. Bring gloves if you have them and come dressed for the weather. Meet at 220 Stamps Lane in Manila. For more information, call (707) 444-1397.
  • Thursday June 21 Where do cigarette butts end up? The ocean, of course!  Tobacco-Free Humboldt hosts a butt-litter cleanup on the Arcata Plaza from noon till 2 p.m. To volunteer and for more information contact Denise George at 441-5574. “Hold Onto Your Butts!”
  • Saturday, June 23 Friends of the Dunes is also looking for folks to restore the Ma-le’l Dunes from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Gloves, tool and cookies (!!!) provided. Meet at the Ma-le’l Dunes trailhead off Young Lane in Manila. Again, more info at (707) 444-1397.
  • Saturday, June 23 Celebrate the 55th Annual Fish Festival in Trinidad from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with fish dinners ranging from $11 to $15, soda, local beers and wine from Moonstone Crossing and Winnett Vineyards, live music and an activities area for kids in Town Hall. It’s also your only chance this year to tour the Trinidad Head Lighthouse! The fest also includes shuttles up Trinidad Head for non-hikers and a Coast Guard helicopter flyover at 2 p.m. The whole shebang supports the Greater Trinidad Chamber of Commerce Scholarships and academic awards, and many other local programs. More info at (707) 677-1610.



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