The fish are here, the water conditions are great, and it won't last long! Save the Redwoods League, Redwood National and State Parks, and the North Coast Redwood Interpretive Association are offering free, guided trips to view the annual migration and spectacle of spawning salmon, on Saturdays and Sundays through the end of January.
Stretching from Point Reyes National Seashore, south through the Marin Headlands and parts of San Francisco, to San Mateo County on the Bay Area Peninsula, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) contains more endangered species that any other national park in continental North America.
Hunted to the brink of extinction at the turn of the 20th century, the northern elephant seal has made a strong comeback in the past 100 years, thanks in part to both government restrictions on hunting and their own secluded, deep-sea lifestyle. For just a few months each year, these unique creatures come ashore, returning to various spots along the California coast to compete, mate, and give birth.
For 11 years the Common Murre Restoration Project has been restoring seabird colonies on a small seastack known as Devil's Slide Rock, on the San Mateo County coast just 15 miles south of San Francisco. The Devil's Slide breeding colony held close to 3,000 Common Murres (Uria aalge) as recently as the early 1980s, but was wiped out as a result of human-caused mortality.
The Aleutian Canada Goose, once thought to be extinct, is one of the rare success stories of the federal Endangered Species Act. Recognized as an endangered species in 1967, they numbered fewer than 500, so few that they went unseen for nearly 25 years and were presumed extinct. They were "rediscovered" by an intrepid lone biologist and researcher called Bob "Sea Otter" Jones, who rowed out in a wooden dory to the rocky, wave-tossed remote island in the western Aleutians where he suspected -- and found -- a small remnant population hidden away. Today, they number more than 60,000, and are one of only about a dozen species ever recovered enough to be taken off the endangered species list.