Hare Creek Beach – Volunteers Make All the Difference

April 10, 2019

Stewarding our shared spaces

Hare Creek beach and trail are located along the southern boundary of the City of Fort Bragg. This Mendocino Land Trust-owned beach has a particularly lush trail that follows the creek for a bit before it opens onto a beautiful little pocket beach. Every one of Mendocino Land Trust’s trails requires regular maintenance, and each has its own challenges. Hare Creek trail is heavily used by the public which means litter is a problem, and it also has a number of extremely invasive, non-native plants along the trail and creek.

Without the passionate volunteers who collectively give hundreds of hours of their time to this place, it would quickly become overgrown, less beautiful and more difficult to access. Whether performed monthly, annually or only once, each volunteer hour is of great value, and we are all deeply grateful. From dedicated monthly volunteers to school groups to visiting divers, it takes a village to keep these beaches and trails open and accessible to the public.

The Hare Creek Beach Stewards

This small group of very dedicated volunteers has, for many years now, been meeting once a month to perform regular maintenance on Hare Creek beach and trail. Betty Stechmeyer, Lenny Noack and Pat Tilley are the primary members of this stalwart crew. With seemingly endless patience and persistence, they tackle the garbage and invasive plants that come back month after month, year after year. While this kind of work can feel Sisyphean, over time, their efforts have transformed the trail down to Hare Creek. They encourage others to join them and have recently welcomed their newest member, Elizabeth Pippin. We are so grateful for their time, energy and community spirit.

Anchor Academy

The Anchor Academy is an alternative school within Fort Bragg High School, and service learning provides a viable alternative to the traditional classroom setting. Anchor Academy has partnered with Mendocino Land Trust for several years, connecting students with the land and their community through stewardship. Several times a month, these students pick up garbage and pull invasive plants. Their work contributes greatly to our ongoing maintenance efforts.

Right place, right time

In addition to its steadfast volunteers, Hare Creek has been getting some extra love lately from friends in faraway places. Extreme high tides and heavy winter surf have been taking quite a toll on our coastal areas, and the strength of the ocean means the damage can be significant. This last winter, the high surf completely overtook the beach and came up the creek, dislodging and relocating a couple sections of the trail’s boardwalk. Each section weighs hundreds of pounds, which made moving them back into position a daunting task. It was looking like taking them apart and reassembling them would be the best option one day last month when a group of folks from the Humboldt State University Scientific Diving program walked by on their way to check out the surf. They all pitched in to help, quickly lifting and moving the heavy sections of boardwalk back into place, saving our staff and volunteers hours of time. Huge thank you to Hanna, Rich, Steve and Nick!

Voyage to Excellence

This group of students came all the way from Alaska to ride their bicycles along the Northern California Coast. They cycled from Eureka to San Francisco, through rain and shine (unfortunately, mostly rain). While they were in Fort Bragg, they spent a day volunteering with Mendocino Land Trust at Hare Creek Beach. The king tides that moved the boardwalks also pushed dozens of large logs up the beach, near the trail. After pulling invasive plants all morning, the students learned how to use some pretty cool tools for moving heavy logs and spent the afternoon creating a well-defined path from the beach to the trail.

If you are interested in volunteering in any way, we need your help! From working outside caring for our preserves to indoor business-related tasks, we can find an opportunity for you. Email or call our office at (707) 962-0470 to get involved. Visit our Events page to see what’s on the calendar right now.

To learn more about this trail and other trails up and down the coast, please visit our Coastal Trail Guide.