Pedro Point Headlands Restoration & Stewardship

The “Escape to the Headlands” holiday event was a great success.  Around 70 people, many of them new to the headlands, took a hike and contributed to the restoration by sowing rye seed.

PLT members welcomed the public, led hikes, listened to public comments and answered questions. Signs were placed to respond to questions we’ve received in the past.

What’s with the Grass?   It’s chicken feed!  Barley is a great seed for erosion control.  It greens up within a week of rain, it’s roots hold the soil, and when it dies back, it contributes organic matter to the soil.  Here along the coast, it can’t thrive, and dies out after a season or two.  Meanwhile, the native bunchgrasses can get established and take over.

Why are the trails so wide?  San Mateo County Parks requires five-foot wide trails with shoulders, so they can access the area with a utility vehicle for maintenance and emergencies. During the 2017 construction season, the roads will be needed to access Northern PPH trails.  Once the Northern section is complete, the access roads will be graded and re-vegetated, leaving only the 5-foot wide trails.

Why is the bluff trail even wider?  When the bluff road was made, soil was piled up along the inside edge. This soil has been used to fill the gully, and the natural contour and sheet water flow has been restored.

What are the pink ribbons along the South Ridge Trail?  Before construction started, the area was surveyed for San Francisco dusky-footed woodrats, a sensitive species.  The South Ridge Trail has a neighborhood of some two dozen woodrat houses, called middens, and each one is marked so it is not disturbed during construction.

What are the piles covered with black plastic?  In order to fill the deep gullies, debris that has fallen along Devils Slide Trail was stockpiled for use during the next construction season.  This is win-win, since the debris needs to be cleared from the drains along Devils Slide Trail, and it is the perfect fill for Pedro Point Headlands.  The plastic covering will keep the soil from washing away during the winter rains.

Native Plant Nursery:  100,000 plants will be grown to re-vegetate disturbed areas.  By propagating plants on site, we can insure that no diseases are introduced and the plants are properly adapted to PPH climate and conditions. Setting up the on-site native plant nursery has been generously funded by San Mateo Measure A funds.  Salvaged plants are also being stored in the nursery.  They will be replaced when construction is complete.

Will any rare plants be affected by construction?  There are two rare species that will disturbed, the San Francisco wallflower and Michael’s rein orchid. Seed has been collected from the wallflower, and four plants will replace every wallflower that is taken out.  Since Michael’s rein orchid is very difficult to propagate, each plant will be transplanted, then replaced after construction is complete.

Are there any endangered species at Pedro Point Headlands?  No.  Occasionally a Peregrine Falcon from the nest on Devils Slide Trail flies over, but there are no nests at PPH.

Thank you!  Thanks to California State Parks Division of Off-Highway Vehicles, San Mateo County Measure A and California Coastal Conservancy for generously funding the Pedro Point Headlands Restoration and Trails Project.  And thanks to the volunteers and donors who make it all possible!