Point Lobos' Underwater Parks

Saturday, April 29
Activities from 10am-3pm

Just as our country’s parks, forests and wilderness areas protect special places on land, California’s MPAs protect unique areas in the ocean for future generations to enjoy. These underwater parks contribute to healthier, more resilient ocean ecosystems that can better withstand impacts such as pollution and climate change. By protecting entire ecosystems rather than focusing on a single species, MPAs are powerful tools for conserving and restoring ocean biodiversity, and protecting cultural resources, while allowing certain activities such as marine recreation and research.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is one of the state’s best examples of protected areas. While the Reserve hosts 550 fully protected land acres, its protected underwater area is over eighteen times that size, at 9,907 acres. In the waters adjacent to Point Lobos are two protected areas. The Point Lobos State Marine Reserve extends from the north side of Monastery Beach to the mouth of Mal Paso Creek. In this area, sea otters, sea lions and harbor seals find shelter along the shore and over 300 species of birds can be found benefiting from the abundance of protected food and habitat.

The Point Lobos State Marine Conservation Area extends three miles offshore and provides shelter for many species of fish living in the kelp forests, sandy bottoms and deep canyons off Point Lobos. Cabezon, vermillion rockfish and blue rockfish hide among the kelp, while mola mola may be found basking on the surface offshore. Goby and sculpin can be found darting amongst the tide pools. Brochures are available within the reserve and include additional information on the natural history, key species, and regulations of these MPAs, as well as detailed maps with GPS coordinates of the protected areas.

Underwater Parks Day allows visitors the opportunity to see special displays on Saturday, April 29, 2017. At Point Lobos, divers will be setting up an exhibit for visitors to view some of the amazing underwater wildlife from 10:00 until noon. Tanks will be set up in Whalers Cove where guests can learn about unique local invertebrates. Daniel Williford, Interpreter I, will be doing his distance learning program out in his kayak out in Whaler’s Cove. When he conducts his Parks On-line Resources for Teachers and Students (PORTS) he presents to schools, but on Saturday he will be seen by park visitors visiting the park on a t.v. in the Whalers Cabin.

Representatives will be on hand from the following organizations to talk about the work happening locally to protect our oceans and educate our community: BAUE (Bay Area Underwater Explorers), the Marine Mammal Center, California Marine Sanctuary Foundation, Point Lobos Foundation, Sea Otter Research and Conservation and Reefcheck California. There is a $10 fee/vehicle to enter Point Lobos State Reserve.