Building the Pelican Bluffs Trail

August 17, 2017

The winter rains are upon us, and the Pelican Bluffs trail is almost done. Thanks to the hard work of our staff and the help of some amazing volunteers, the trail is looking great, and we can’t wait to celebrate with you when we officially open the trail early next year.

We expected about 10 volunteers would come and lend a hand at our first Pelican Bluffs trail-building day late last month, but when we gathered in the parking lot on that foggy Saturday morning, there were more than twice as many. Around here, when you ask for help in earnest, you are often rewarded in kind, especially when creating a new coastal trail for everyone to enjoy.

In December of 2013, the Mendocino Land Trust purchased the beautiful 73-acre Pelican Bluffs property, south of Point Arena, from the California Institute of Environmental Studies. The State Coastal Conservancy funded this purchase as an opportunity to protect endangered species habitat and to construct a new segment of the California Coastal Trail.

This summer, construction began on the 2.2-mile trail with the help of the hardworking men and women of the California Conservation Corps (CCC). Cedar Long, head of one of the 15-member CCC crews, says, “There’s nothing quite like getting to see people walk over a trail you created,” especially ones with such “beautiful scenery and lovely vistas.” 

Many hands make light work, and it was great to see so many volunteers who wanted to help make this trail a reality. From hauling materials to cutting trail, marking trail signs and building boardwalk, everyone pitched in and accomplished so much in a few short hours. 

Upon its completion, the Pelican Bluffs trail will lead visitors through a wide coastal prairie of tall, golden grass, revealing at its peak an expansive view of the Pacific Ocean and Point Arena’s iconic white-faced cliffs. The trail then travels down along the bluff edge before turning back inland through a forest of Bishop pine. As visitors walk the trail and enjoy the sights, they might not appreciate all the hard work it takes to build a trail, but the stalwart volunteers who roll up their sleeves to help out will know exactly what it takes, and they know it’s well worth the effort.

The Mendocino Land Trust looks forward to sharing this very special place with our community in the months ahead. Stay tuned for more information on volunteer opportunities and a grand opening.