Salt Point SP
Narrated by Russ Christoff

Although I’d heard that parts of its 6,000 acres were destroyed by fire, I decided to venture a few miles higher on Highway 1 to check out the camping at Salt Point State Park.

A stop at the visitor center proved to be worthwhile.

The interpretative displays inform visitors of the diversity of this unusual and unique park.

I discovered that within a few hours a visitor can dive for abalone, and then hike two miles to a pygmy forest.

I caught up with the park ranger, Woody, down at Gerstle Cove which was already teaming with divers.

At Salt Point there are some real popular activities. A couple that cross my mind are tide pools and the divers.

RANGER WOODY: Salt Point is unusual, it’s an underwater park and normally people come to Salt Point to dive or to play in the tide pools or to fish.

And, as a result of that we have a very heavily used area from approximately six miles of coastline the public will enjoy.

Here at Gerstle Cove at Salt Point we have the most heavily used area, for example today, there are probably 40 or 50 divers in the water.

And, they are enjoying the underwater part of the park which you and I wouldn’t see unless we go underwater.

Also, we have here the tide pool areas where people take abalone and fish.

This is the largest concentration of legal abalones in the world. The red abalones are along the northern California, Mendocino/Sonoma coast are the only ones left that have any viability.

RUSS CHRISTOFF: Woody, why is it a pygmy forest? Why is the growth stunted here?

RANGER WOODY: It’s an effect of the lack of the drainage of the soils. This is the top of the marine terrace, essentially flat and level, so the salts stay in the soil instead of draining off.