Muir Beach has been going through a major phase of a National Park Service/Parks Conservancy restoration project for the past few months and will soon be open to the public once again (slated for mid-December). Soon, visitors and locals alike will have their chance to enjoy all that the beach and surrounding trails have to offer.
The changes that have taken place over the past few months are significant events for the health and wellbeing of the watershed and its inhabitants, whether plant or animal. The parking lot has been shifted so it is perpendicular to the ocean and the floodplain has been opened up, so that should a large rain event occur, the lagoon will be able to handle the heavy volumes of water that flow down Redwood Creek and out to the Pacific.
Also, in order to get from the parking lot to the beach, a newly extended footbridge spans the floodplain, providing stunning vistas along a re-routed trail through the dune plant community that lands you closer to the shoreline.
When you finally re-visit Muir Beach, be sure to take a moment along the footbridge to look all around you. What you will see might seem like a stark, earthly moonscape covered with jute fabric. But under this fabric are thousands of divisions that were salvaged from one area, divided by hand by many Conservancy staff during the government shutdown, and then re-planted one by one into the floodplain. What may look barren upon the re-opening of Muir Beach will be a lush floodplain of sedges, rushes, and rhizomatous grasses by next year.
Also, take a moment to notice the thousands of willow stakes that will be installed in the jute fabric closer to the creek. And imagine the more than 11,000 container plants that were grown and cared for by the Redwood Creek Nursery volunteers since the beginning of this year, which will be planted by the hundreds of volunteers who will join the efforts of our Marin Stewardship team once the rains begin!
After the machinery has long gone, the soil settles in place, and the plants begin to grow, we will soon lose sight of the jute fabric, large rain events will leave their imprint upon the landscape, and the plants and animals will begin to make their own impact upon the site. And the transformation of Muir Beach will continue on.
By Chelsea Dicksion
Native Plant Nursery Manager
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