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North Coast Winds - April 2015


North Coast Winds - April 2015

by Robin Joy Wellman

I know it is the cool thing to say ‘we need more rain’ and has been noted so many times, so please forgive me as I won’t mention it here in writing. And please don’t through apples as I do love the spring, the green grass, and the promise of warmer and longer days. I like the idea of ‘chance of rain’ but I also really love the sun. I love the sun so much that I have been graced with 15 stiches on my face to remove skin cancer spots. Please – folks – use sunscreen every day!  Even on the coast, the fog layer or overcast layer actually acts as a magnifier – and intensifies the sun on our skin. Many years of park service being outside has taken a toll. Is it worth it – yes, sure. But we do learn new tricks even as we get older and mine is a tube of sunscreen in every pocket. 

We have a favorite saying at Fort Ross and all State Parks – All Visitors Welcome. This means all people, including those with limited mobility, limited vision or hearing, or any personal physical challenge are welcome to the parks. Fort Ross recently completed a large project adding accessibility to the majority of our most visited areas in the park. I love things to remain the same so when we started designing the trails and access areas I wasn’t convinced it was needed as we don’t get many people that need this access. Well, I have changed my thoughts on this.  Because we now have the trails, we now get people every day that make good use of the paths. So while it was true that we didn’t get people who needed this, it was because we weren’t providing the needed access. All of the staff at Fort Ross would like to welcome everyone to visit, to learn and explore and use our new beautiful ADA paths.  

April 4th at Fort Ross SHP, Save the Redwood League will host a talk on the Fort Ross Redwoods. Join Deborah Zierten, Education and Interpretation Manager for Save the Redwoods League, for a presentation on the current state of the redwoods. After a brief presentation, join us for an interpretive walk in the forest where we will learn what makes Fort Ross’ Stanley Spyra Memorial Grove unique. And April 19th, at 3:00pm learn about the Migrating Whales Along our Coast. Join Jodi Smith, Founder and Executive Director of Naked Whale Research, for a lecture to learn more about the types of and differences between whale species found in our local waters. She will describe the basic biology of the three ecotypes of killer whale found here and the role played by volunteers in helping to identify and report killer whale sightings. These are amazing and talented people folks. Please come out and enjoy the park, the personal stories, and the conversation. 

I would like to give a shout out to the Gualala Hotel, Bar, and Restaurant in Gualala which recently reopened. In the late 1800’s Gualala was a major commercial hub for the coastal areas. The Gualala hotel was built in 1903 including a barn, a woodshed, a dairy, and a huge garden all on 636 acres. It has been through several changes, a few owners, but remained a local iconic bar and restaurant. You used to be able to go down to the hotel on Friday night and be assured there would be a fight of some sort which provided some entertainment. Now, it has recently reopened, with the same redwood bar counter (you can slide a glass of beer from one end to the other), and with many of the locals, a brand new menu and local owners and staff, and no rough housing. I am really looking forward to enjoying a meal there, some social time, and some quiet entertainment. 

The Gualala Art Center has several events taking place including art openings, lectures, and the annual Whale and Jazz and Chowder Festival April 18th. We are talking about fun and food together. This family-friendly midday event includes a jazz concert of traditional New Orleans jazz performed by Barnebey’s Hot Four of Sonoma County free to the public accompanying the 13th annual Chowder Challenge tasting competition. Local chefs & cooks vie for the title of “Best Mendonoma Coast Chowder.” $20 advance tickets, available online ($5 more day of the Challenge), include Festival Logo wine or beer glass and 15 tickets for chowder tastings, hot bread fresh out of the oven and beverages, including fine wines and microbrews as well as soft beverages. Additional tickets will be available for $1 each at the Challenge. Visit them at Gualala Arts Center events  for more info. At the Point Arena Lighthouse Doug Forsell introduces his expertise on sea birds in a lecture this April.  Please visit the website at the Point Arena Lighthouse for date and times.  And Happy April Fools to you!