Taking the Long View: An inside look at the goings-on at the longest running avian ecology field station west of the Mississippi.

Limited Access to Palomarin during the Government Shutdown

This blog was written by Palomarin Program Lead Diana Humple.

About Point Blue: Our mission is to conserve birds, other wildlife, and ecosystems through science, partnerships, and outreach.

Our Vision: Because of the collaborative climate-smart conservation work we do today, healthy ecosystems will continue to sustain thriving wildlife and human communities well into the future.

Visit Point Blue’s website to learn more.

Please see the 1/23/2019 postscript at the end of this blog for current conditions.

Palomarin and the Government Shutdown

Along with many Americans, Point Blue is experiencing the detrimental impacts of the current partial government shutdown in a myriad of ways, due especially to the amount of conservation science we do in partnership with federal agencies.

Our Palomarin Field Station, which is located at the south end of Point Reyes National Seashore, has fortunately been able to function throughout this shutdown (albeit with some impacts). We are able to continue to serve as a hub for a number of Point Blue’s conservation science efforts, to host and train interns, and to collect long-term data on the local bird populations and other ecological variables at the field station itself, as we have been doing since 1966. However, due to the build-up of trash at the nearby Coast Trail and local safety concerns – a common theme at popular recreational areas on federal lands across the country right now, without the presence of park staff to manage these issues – the National Park Service has had to close the road out to Palomarin. Although we are granted access due to our location, the general public does not currently have access to the area, which means reduced visitation to our Visitor Center and Bird Banding Lab and less opportunity for people to witness the magic of birds up close and personal and to observe science in action.

We are, however, able to host pre-arranged groups to come watch bird banding – so please see our website for information on how to arrange a visit during this period. Otherwise we hope to see you in the not-too-distant future!

On a final note: we are extremely grateful to our partners at the National Park Service and for the work being conducted by just a handful of individuals in Point Reyes National Seashore during this shutdown, and our deepest sympathies go out to our federal colleagues here and across the country for the hardship and stress many are experiencing right now.

1/23/2019 postscript: since the publication of this blog, although the government shutdown continues, some funds were procured for Point Reyes National Seashore to manage visitor use at the trailhead near the Palomarin Field Station, and the road is now OPEN!

Road to Palomarin closed temporarily — photo by Carleton Eyster


A Townsend’s Warbler, one of our common winter species caught at Palomarin. Photo by Nicole Gaudenti.


Releasing a banded bird at the Palomarin Field Station