Ten Mile Beach – photo copyright Dave Franklin
There are three marine protected areas in close proximity with the Ten Mile name. Ten Mile State Marine Reserve, Ten Mile Beach State Marine Conservation Area, and Ten Mile Ten Mile State Marine Reserve together take up nearly 16 square miles. The shoreline is between the towns of Fort Bragg and Westport and is backed by one of California coast’s longest dune systems. Each area offers protection for a unique set of wildlife and together, they encompass feedings and breeding grounds for mammals, fish, and birds alike. Ecosystems include: rocky shoreline, sandy beach, eelgrass, kelp beds, offshore inlets, and sand dunes.
- The neighboring MacKerricher State Park is home to an endangered flowering plant called Chorizanthe howellii, better known as Mendocino spineflower, or Howell’s spineflower. In fact, it is estimated that 95% of the individuals of this plant can be found here.
- The Ten Mile River estuary is known as one of the least developed estuarine areas in the state. As such, the shore and inland areas around the estuary are extensive, intact, and functional.
- The area surrounding these marine protected areas is home to such federally threatened or endangered species as: three types of salmonoids, tidewater gobies, bald eagles, and snowy plovers.
- River otters have been spotted using these waters as corridors to swim to more habitats.
- The Ten Mile MPAs are located within the territory of Coast Yuki people known as the Metkuyak Onti?ka. Their word for the north side of the river mouth is “Achiskihosbintem” and for the south side “Hebichwakem.” Ten Mile is important to local tribal peoples, who remain culturally connected to this place and continue to use it.
- See the endangered snowy plovers, and other shore birds that make their homes along the sandy dunes and coastal cliffs. There are over 90 bird species to see in this area.
- The neighboring sandy beaches are great for walking and viewing sea glass. Nearby, there are three main Fort Bragg glass beaches where frosted sea glass that is observed can reach up to knee-deep. For more details visit: http://www.fortbragg.com/2012/02/glass-beach-everything-you-wanted-to-know/
- Take a hike! Explore the Ten Mile Beach Trail that parallels this MPA: http://www.traillink.com/trail/ten-mile-beach-trail-%28mackerricher-haul-road-trail%29.aspx
- See the seals. As a breeding ground for seals, if you take a hike along the beach, you may find seals lying on the shore or rocks. Sea lions and whales may also be spotted from the shore.
- Explore what MacKerricher State Park has to offer. From guided walking tours to kayaking to horseback riding on nearshore trails, there are lots of opportunities. To find out more information visit: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=436