62 AUGUST 2016 MARIN
POINT REYES IS BIG enough to contain sur-
prises. There are the well-known attractions:
Point Reyes Lighthouse, the tule elk that graze
at the seashore’s north end. But there are
also quirkier finds. The poignant Life-Saving
Service Cemetery. The stable of Morgan horses.
(“They’re getting on,” Dell’Osso says. “But the
head of the park service rode one of them in the
Rose Parade this year.”)
And, on the way to the lighthouse, one particular treasure: the old RCA wireless receiving
station. From 1929 into the 1990s this station
handled communications for ships all across
the Pacific. Stop by on Saturday afternoon
and you’ll see headphone-wearing volunteer
radio operators working as if it were 1938.
Chief Operator Richard Ullman will show you
an impressive array of radio equipment and
artifacts like the copy of the logbook in which
the station transcribed the first news of the
attack on Pearl Harbor — the Day of Infamy
announced in Morse code.
THAT’S THE THING about Point Reyes — as
much as it might not want to be, it is connected
to the rest of the world. It’s an island in time,
but time washes over it, and changes in the outside world eventually make themselves known
here, like messages floating on radio waves
across the Pacific.
One recent 21st-century challenge, Dell’Osso
says, was the crowd-sourced crisis at the trailhead in Palomarin, in the south end of the park.
“We started getting over whelmed with visitors.”
Social media sleuthing revealed the cause. “It
turned out when people Google-mapped ‘How
do I get to Point Reyes National Seashore’ from
This page: Sand and
surf at Limantour Beach.
Opposite: Point Reyes
is the only U. S. national
park where tule elk
can be found.