Sausalito, Ca – Region of Golden Gate National Recreational Area

About the Park

Science Spotlight: Invasive Ice Plants

When making the trek up to the Point Bonita Lighthouse, it’s hard to miss the dense carpets of dark green succulent. Introduced to California in the 1900’s to help control erosion, the South African-native ice plant is beginning to overstay its welcome. A common sight along California’s coastal areas, the ice plant has been deemed invasive on stretches of almost all of California’s coast.

Although it’s a decorative and beautiful flowering succulent, it’s causing major problems for the native California plants that it’s outcompeting. Once established, the ice plant forms dense mats which force out native plants and alter the soil composition.

Its root system is shallow, making localized control possible. However, the ice plant is so widespread that it’s unrealistic to tackle it all in one swoop. For more information on how you can help control the problem, check out this site which helps provide resources to volunteers.

Ice Plant.jpg

A carpet of Ice Plants; photo from Lighthouse Field State Beach.

Park History

The discovery of gold in 1848 transformed the San Francisco area – what was once a city of 900 people quickly grew to over 20,000. To meet the needs of a booming population, the area began construction of lighthouses around the bay to lead the way for settlers. Point Bonita, completed in 1855, was the third lighthouse on the west coast. It remains still in operation today as a part of the Golden Gate National Recreational Area.

Visit the Park

Please note that there is no entrance fee to enter the park. Dogs are not allowed.

Before visiting, please note that the lighthouse is only open for visiting Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m, so plan accordingly.

Point Bonita Lighthouse is a 1 mile, out-and-back trail that winds around beautiful coastline to the lighthouse. During your visit, be sure to enter the lighthouse.

Here are some helpful resources to help plan your visit:

Gallery

 

Posted by Taylor Crisologo

Taylor studied biology at Cornell University, where she worked with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology on projects ranging from breeding herring gulls off the coast of Maine to dancing lyrebirds in Australia’s Blue Mountains. When she’s not researching great places to experience Bay Area nature, you can find her birding or reading a book at home with her husband and their two indoor cats (Max and Penelope).

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