Giacomini Wetlands Paddle
Meandering through the tidally active channels at the southern end of Tomales Bay takes you into the heart of the Tomales Bay Preserve. This area is home to a vast number of waterfowl. Hawks and raptors soar above, egrets and herons are a common sight wading in the shallow waters. Osprey and kingfishers shriek, small turtles plunk into the water, and the occasional river otter is glimpsed along the route from the fresh water of Lagunitas (Papermill) Creek to the salt water of Tomales Bay.
After its restoration in 2008, the Giacomini Wetlands have been rapidly changing from pasture fields back to wetlands. Non-native grasses are being replaced as the saltwater continues to inundate the area, helping the native marsh plants to return.
This tour conveniently launches at Whitehouse Pool, near Point Reyes Station, and is an out and back trip.
- Morning: 10am-1pm
- Evening: 4pm-7pm
Price: $79 per person
Launch: Whitehouse Pool, Pt. Reyes Station. Click HERE for Google Map of location.
*Minimum Age/Weight is 8yrs/60lbs for day-time trips.
Preparing for Your Trip
The success of any journey is based on well prepared participants. The most important contribution you can make is to arrive on time prepared and eager to enjoy the trip. When getting ready please make sure that you understand the directions and allow yourself plenty of travel time. It is very important to be appropriately dressed to ensure your comfort and enjoyment.
Please study and follow the Clothing Recommendations provided.
PRO takes pride in the quality and skill level of your guides. Impeccably trained, they bring a wealth of knowledge and proficiency to each trip. With expertise in group facilitation, natural history, wilderness first aid, and specialized kayak instruction, your guides are ready to provide you with a safe, relaxing and enjoyable experience. As a trip’s success and safety depends on their judgment, we ask that you respect and support their decisions.
Gratuities are not included in the cost of the trip and there is no obligation to tip your guides but many people do. The industry standard is in the range of 10%; any amount will be greatly appreciated.
Giacomini Wetlands – A History
Wetlands filter floodwaters and alleviate the severity of floods, reducing erosion and sedimentation. They provide habitat and important breeding, nesting, and feeding grounds for countless species. This restoration project has created a wonderful resource not just for the species dependent on it for food and rest, but for those of us who enjoy the outdoors.
The southern end of Tomales Bay was historically home to a productive wetland visited by shorebirds in search of food found in the tidal marshes and salmon traveled through on their journey upstream to spawn. In the 1800’s, ranches and farms began to occupy the fertile, rich grasslands and prairie in the area. A dairy industry emerged, fulfilling the needs of the Bay Area with roads and railroads carrying food and lumber to San Francisco. As the need for land for production increased, marshes were diked and water rerouted, converting wetlands to pastureland. About 50% of Tomales Bay wetlands were converted to provide additional land to produce dairy products and food during World War I and II.
The impact of this conversion increased sedimentation and pollution, and decreased habitat and foraging ground for animals dependent on the vegetation, ground cover, and food found in the wetlands. Threatened and endangered species such as clapper rail, river otter, tidewater goby, and salmon saw extreme decreases in population. In the 1960’s and 70’s residents noticed the impacts not only on the species but on their watershed’s overall health. Also during this time the ideas of increased development were very real and coastal lands were in danger of being converted to housing. Through the hard work and dedication of local individuals and donors nationwide, lands were protected and the National Seashore was created, setting a precedent for protection of ecosystems.
In 2000, the Giacomini pasturelands, occupying 550 acres in the headwaters of Tomales Bay, were purchased with the intent of restoration. Seven years of planning, fundraising, and restoration efforts has made the revitalization of the wetlands a reality.
On October 25, 2008, the last levee was deconstructed, allowing tidal waters to again flow into these lands. A massive effort removing levees, tidegates, culverts, and agricultural infrastructure, recreating tidal sloughs and waterways, shifting creeks, removing soil and revegetation has now been completed to allow the marsh to begin evolving on its own and returning to its previous state as a tidal wetland.