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Closed Sand Dune Areas

Marina Dunes

Marina Dunes Preserve - Closed to OHVs
Marina Dunes Preserve - Completely closed to OHVs and mostly closed to pedestrians.

Location:  Marina, California - From Seaside to Moss Landing.

Description:

Vehicles used to drive on the beach and dunes from Seaside to Moss Landing.

No less than a half-dozen sand mining operations dotted the shoreline in the 1950s. By the 1960s off-highway vehicle use had become a popular recreational use of these dunes and coastline.

In 1975, Highway 1 was realigned to the coastline near Sand City.  Highway 1 used to run along North Freemont Blvd. in Seaside.

In the 1980's, North of Fort Ord, Highway 1 moved to the west of the original alignment and bypasses Marina.  The new highway was constructed much closer to the beach and through many dunes. Low spots were filled in and hills were leveled. Where once tall sand hills stood, now a leveled highway runs.

Also in the 1980s, sand mining was falling out of favor. The dunes were also, by this time, a known home for several endangered species - particularly the western snowy plover. Slowly, mining operations closed-down, and sites were abandoned.

Off-highway vehicle use was prohibited and much of the area is now closed to foot traffic as well.

Managed By

Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District

Size:  

Monterey Bay coastal dunes cover about 40 square miles and covered the coastline from Seaside to Moss Landing.

Date of Closure:  

The property for the Marina Dunes Preserve was purchased by the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District in 1988.

Type of Closure: Permanent

Reason for Closure

Private land was purchased and combined with public land to preserve sensitive dune habitat.

The state also purchased land to build the Highway 1 bypass around Marina and Seaside.  The new highway alignment destroyed a lot of the dunes.

Historic Off-Highway Vehicle Use

Marina Dunes circa 1965   Marina Dunes circa 1965   Marina Dunes circa 1965 - base of "Big Hill"
Marina Dunes circa 1965

Marina Dunes - "Big Hill" circa 1967   Marina Dunes - "Big Hill" circa 1972   Marina Dunes - "Big Hill" circa 1967
Marina Dunes - "Big Hill" (1967 - 1972)

Marina Dunes - "Grapevine Hill" circa 1970   Marina Dunes - "Grapevine Hill" circa 1968   Marina Dunes - "Grapevine Hill" circa 1968
Marina Dunes - "Grapevine Hill"

Marina Dunes - "Grapevine Hill" during the Highway 1 bypass construction   Marina Dunes - "Grapevine Hill" during the Highway 1 bypass construction
Marina Dunes - "Grapevine Hill" during the Highway 1 bypass construction

Marina Dunes circa 1970: Current day - Highway 1 on ramp at Reservation Rd.   MarinaDunesOHV-1.jpg (89275 bytes)
Marina Dunes circa 1970. Current day - Highway 1 on ramp at Reservation Rd.

Note: All photos used with permission from Gerard Forgnone. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

Endangered or Threatened Species:

Marina Dunes Preserve   Marina Dunes - Snowy Plover Sign
Most of the preserve is off-limits to even foot traffic.

Marina Dunes Preserve   Marina Dunes Preserve
Invasive plant species (mostly ice plant) cover most of the area now. 

Plant Restoration at the Marina Dunes Preserve   Plant Restoration at the Marina Dunes Preserve   Plant Restoration at the Marina Dunes Preserve
Native plant restoration at the Marina Dunes Preserve - February 2007

Maps:

Links:

Other Photos:

Marina Dunes Preserve   Marina Dunes Preserve

Other information: 

Since the passage of the California Coastal Act in 1976, no waterfront development has occurred on Monterey Bay, with the exception of Marina Dunes Resort. Built just south of the Marina Dunes Preserve on the site of what was previously a sand quarry that processed Monterey Bay sand, Marina Dunes Resort is funding a permanent dunes restoration project as part of their development agreement.


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