From last year’s Friends of the Dunes Sand Sculpture Contest: Photographer’s Choice “Sea Sock Monkey” by Team Japhy’s: Dash, Jessie, Anthea, Christoph, Naomi, Kira, Miwa, Josh. Info about this year’s below.

Oh, to live on the North Coast! It only takes one trip to some poor town with nothing but chain restaurants to make a person once again appreciate the fresh and local options we can so regularly indulge in. Two different festivals this weekend celebrate bounty of the seafood kind. 

First, of course, Saturday brings us Oyster Fest. If that wasn’t enough fish and fun, on Sunday the annual Trinidad Fish Festival takes place — and you can hike off the gazillions of delicious calories by climbing up the Trinidad Head trails or taking a post-indulgence trek around Elk Head/College Cove. (As I write this, the weather forecast suggests sunshine with only light winds, yeah!)

In addition to these immediate gratification options, seafood lovers should know that protections meant to ensure healthy fisheries in the long-term are also in place — and in five years, we’ll have our first comprehensive look into the science of how they’re working. Preparation for the North Coast MPA Baseline Program is currently underway through the MPA Monitoring Enterprise team, and a number of community discussion sessions are lined up for next week:

  • Tuesday, June 18, 5 – 7 p.m., Crescent City Harbor Office, 101 Citizens Dock Road, Crescent City. 
  • Wednesday, June 19, 7 – 9 a.m., Café Marina, 601 Startare Drive, Eureka.
  • Wednesday, June 19, 5 – 7 p.m., Inn of the Lost Coast, 205 Wave Drive, Whitethorn.
  • Thursday, June 20, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m., Caspar Community Center, 15051 Caspar Road, Caspar.

Speaking of protecting the ocean, our Rep. Jared Huffman’s first bill in Congress, the Point Arena-Stornett Public Lands bill, has passed the House committee on Natural Resources. Huffman hopes to expand the California Coastal Monument by 1,255 acres. Stay tuned… 

Looking ahead, the Friends of the Dunes 18th Annual Sand Sculpture Festival — sponsored in part by Ocean Conservancy, former winners of the coveted Golden Shovel trophy — takes place on Saturday, June 29 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Manila Dunes Recreation Area. Grab your shovels and your friends and spend the day frolicking at the beach. Participation by all ages and skill levels is encouraged and spectators are welcome. Registration opens at 8 a.m. the Manila Community Center, 1611 Peninsula Drive in Manila. Register in advance or at the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center. See you there!