Photo: Friends of the Dunes.




Press release from Friends of the Dunes:

Friends of the Dunes has completed a deal with Security National, the Humboldt Bay Harbor Recreation and Conservation District, the Wildlife Conservation Board, the California Natural Resources Agency, and the California State Coastal Conservancy to acquire the Samoa Dunes and Wetlands for the purposes of conservation and public access. The Samoa Dunes and Wetlands is a 357-acre coastal dune and bayfront property that includes the former Dog Ranch.

“We’re grateful to all of our partners who have worked together to protect this ecological treasure for our community,” said Mike Cipra, Executive Director of Friends of the Dunes. “A broad coalition has been working in collaboration here—from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, to the Coastal Conservancy, to Security National, to the Harbor District, to our Humboldt County Supervisors Virginia Bass and Mike Wilson, to the Wiyot Tribe. And today, we stand in solidarity with all of our partners and the community to share that we have conserved a profound coastal dune forest, diverse wetlands, healthy habitat for wildlife and for rare native plants, and a truly special place where people can find inspiration in nature.”

Photo: Michael van Hattem, via Friends of the Dunes

Friends of the Dunes is now interim landowner of the 357-acre Samoa Dunes and Wetlands, while the conservation non-profit works with its partners to identify the best long-term conservation landowner for this property. Friends of the Dunes has established partnerships with the Humboldt Bay Harbor District, the Bureau of Land Management, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Humboldt County, the State Coastal Conservancy, and the Wiyot Tribe. All of these parties are in the process of finalizing a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperative management of the Samoa Dunes and Wetlands.

Adding this property, which is located just south of the Manila Dunes Recreation Area, to the existing conservation lands on the north spit of Humboldt Bay will create a continuous connected area of more than 1600 acres of sweeping native dunes managed for habitat conservation and public access. Friends of the Dunes plans to lead small group tours of the Samoa Dunes and Wetlands when it is safe and appropriate to do so under existing public health guidance, so that the interested public can gain access and learn about this remarkable conservation land.     

Photo: Michael van Hattem, via Friends of the Dunes

“Friends of the Dunes does not see ourselves as the long-term landowner of the Samoa Dunes and Wetlands, and we do not plan to do any development of trails, parking areas, or restoration activities during our tenure as interim land manager,” said Carol Vander Meer, the Board President of Friends of the Dunes. “We are cooperating with our county, state, federal, and Tribal partners to determine what ownership or management is in the best long-term interests of this land and our community.”

“All of the partners working on this project are committed to protecting the beauty and diversity of this remarkable piece of land,” said Vander Meer. “That’s really the core of this conservation project—working cooperatively with committed partners so that the beauty and diversity of our coast can be enjoyed for generations to come.

Photo: Andrea Pickart, via Friends of the Dunes