Point Reyes Timeline

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Significant Dates in Point Reyes History

8,400 B.C.
Earliest evidence of Coast Miwok settlement according to carbon dating
 
1542
Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo sails past Point Reyes on first European voyage to California
 
1579
Francis Drake camps at Drakes Bay during his circumnavigation of the globe and claims area as Nova Albion for Queen Elizabeth I of England
 
1595
The Manila galleon San Augustin, captained by Sebastian Cermeño, sinks in Drakes Bay and becomes the first shipwreck in California history
 
1603
"Punta de los Reyes" is named by Spanish explorer, Sebastian Vizcaíno
 
1776
Mission San Francisco de Asís founded and Coast Miwok displacement begins
 
1811
Fort Ross founder Kuskov visits Point Reyes
 
1820
Majority of Coast Miwok population moves to missions, flees or dies of disease
 
1836
First of three Mexican land grants in the area made to Rafael Garcia
 
1855
Tule elk extirpated from Point Reyes
 
1857
James and Oscar Shafter of Vermont acquire ownership of most of Point Reyes peninsula and lease land to Steele family for first dairy farm
 
1865
Twenty-six ranches, named A-Z, built by the Shafters and son-in-law Charles Webb Howard
 
1870
Point Reyes Lighthouse built
 
1875
The North Pacific Coast Railroad extends from Sausalito to the eastern shore of Tomales Bay
 
1884
Last grizzly bear sighting in Point Reyes
 
1889
Point Reyes Life Saving Station built on the Great Beach
 
1906
San Francisco earthquake jolts the Point Reyes Peninsula
 
1927
Point Reyes Lifeboat Station opens on Drakes Bay
 
1935
First survey by National Park Service recommending area for park
 
1938
52-acre Drakes Beach County Park established
 
1939
Last Shafter/Howard land holdings sold
 
1942
McClure’s Beach County Park established
 
1956
1,000 acres at Limantour Beach purchased by developers for large-scale subdivision
 
1958
Logging on east side of Inverness Ridge
National Park Service announces plans to establish 35,000 acre national seashore at Point Reyes
 
1959
Congressman Clem Miller begins first term in U.S. House of Representatives and makes the establishment of Point Reyes National Seashore his greatest priority
 
1962
September 13 - Point Reyes National Seashore is signed into law by President John F. Kennedy
October 7 - Congressman Clem Miller dies in an airplane crash near Willits, California
 
1964
July 17 - Coastal Parks Association (now called Point Reyes National Seashore Association) files articles of incorporation.
 
1966
Mrs. Lyndon Johnson presides over dedication ceremony for Point Reyes National Seashore
 
1969
Peter Behr and Katie Miller Johnson (Congressman Clem Miller's widow) create “Save Our Seashore” campaign to raise funds to finish purchase of park land before parts of it are sold to developers
 
1970
Point Reyes Morgan Horse Farm established to breed horses for ranger patrol
 
1972
Completion of purchase of the majority of private inholdings
 
1974
PRNSA and the National Park Service establish Clem Miller Environmental  Education Center to host overnight environmental education programs for school children at historic Laguna Ranch; original buildings included a quonset hut & canvas-sided tent cabins
 
1975
U.S. Coast Guard closes Point Reyes Lighthouse and ownership is transferred National Park Service
 
1976
Congress designates 52 square miles of Point Reyes National Seashore as Federal Wilderness
Kule Loklo Coast Miwok Cultural Exhibit is completed
PRNSA establishes Field Seminars (now known as Field Institute) program 
 
1978
National Park Service reintroduces Tule Elk to the park
 
1981
First elephant seal pup born at Point Reyes Headlands
 
1983
Bear Valley Visitor Center opens; construction funded by $1.4 million in private donations
 
1985
Designation and naming of Phillip Burton Wilderness
 
1987
Construction completed on Clem Miller Environmental Education Center
 
1988
Point Reyes National Seashore designated a part of Central California Coast Biosphere Reserve
 
1989
Lifeboat Station on Drakes Bay designated a National Historic Landmark
 
1995
Mount Vision Fire burns 13,000 acres
 
1999
Tule elk re-introduced at Limantour (the first wild herd at Point Reyes since the 1850s)
 
2001
Pacific Coast Science & Learning Center (PCSLC) established to increase effectiveness and communication of scientific research and to promote science education
 
2002
First Coho salmon seen in Pine Gulch Creek in 30 years
First tidewater gobies seen in park streams since 1953
 
2003
First black bear seen in Point Reyes in over 100 years
 
2005
National Park Service’s Marine Station opens at Sacramento Landing
 
2008
PRNSA and National Park Service complete Giacomini Wetlands Restoration project 
 
2009
PRNSA establishes Young Stewards Youth Scholarship Fund
 
2010
Science on a Sphere® exhibit installed at Bear Valley Visitor Center
 
2012
Point Reyes National Seashore celebrates its 50th Anniversary
Drakes Bay Historic and Archeological District designated a National Historic Landmark
PRNSA establishes Point Reyes Trails Trust and holds first Point Reyes Trails Challenge
 
2013
Giacomini Wetlands Restoration Project celebrates 5th anniversary