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Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus

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Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county
Getting close to nature is easy in Marina
June 2008

Nearly 60 local residents attended a Sierra Club forum about Marina natural areas on June 14 at the Marina Library organized by Steve Zmak. Marina City Councilmember and California State Parks Designer Ken Gray gave a presentation about the new Fort Ord Dunes State Park. Former Marina City Council Member and Bureau of Land Management botanist Bruce Delgado spoke on the many activities and attractions on the 7,200 acres and 50 miles of trails on the Fort Ord Public Lands.

The newly-created Fort Ord Dunes State Park comprises four miles of coastline west of Hwy. 1 in Marina. This property, formerly part of the decom- missioned Fort Ord, was used by the Army as a rifle range and for other military purposes. The original white observation tower for the rifle range can still be seen from Hwy. 1 just north of the CSUMB exit and will be preserved as a historical landmark. Stilwell Hall and other structures have been removed, and plans are being developed for restoration and nurturing of native plants and eradication of invasive species such as the pervasive ice plant.

Although the park is not yet officially open to the public, there are three access points for those wanting a sneak preview: 1) through an opening in the fence off the Rec. Trail in Marina directly below the Hwy. 1 overpass of Del Monte Boulevard near the Reindollar Avenue intersection, 2) through a tunnel passing under Hwy. 1 at the corner of First Street and First Avenue near the District 4 County Supervisor's Office, and 3) through an opening in the fence off the Rec. Trail in Sand City. When the park is finally open, the entrance will be at the Eighth Street Overpass where there will be parking, trailheads, and a campground.

Bruce Delgado reminded the audience that the Fort Ord Public Lands adjacent to Marina are home to mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats, deer, snakes, a variety of birds, and other species, not to mention profuse wildflowers. Delgado brought two gopher snakes and two black legless lizards giving attendees an up-close look.

For updates on Fort Ord Dunes State Park go to:
www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=580.

For more information about BLM lands near Marina visit:
www.fortordpubliclands.org/.




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