Half Moon Bay State Beach
|Half Moon Bay State Beach|
Half Moon Bay State Beach
|Location||San Mateo County, California, USA|
|Nearest city||Half Moon Bay, California|
|Area||181 acres (73 ha)|
|Governing body||California Department of Parks and Recreation|
Half Moon Bay State Beach is a 4-mile (6 km) stretch of protected beaches in the state park system of California, USA, on Half Moon Bay. From north to south it comprises Roosevelt, Dunes, Venice, and Francis Beaches. The 181-acre (73 ha) park was established in 1956.
The broad, sandy beaches are used for sunbathing, fishing and picnicking. A campground provides accommodations for those who wish to visit longer. This Pacific Ocean beach, located immediately south of Pillar Point Harbor and the town of Princeton-by-the-Sea, is often used by surfers, who utilize its unusual waves that are influenced by reflective action from the harbor jetty. At the north end of the bay there is a county park in the lee of Pillar Point Harbor with a well-maintained trail that allows hikers and bikers access to the ocean below the point. Some of the tallest surf in California occurs offshore of Pillar Point following big storms. The area is well known as Mavericks and is famous for the annual Mavericks Surf Contest.
Francis Beach has a campground with 52 individual sites; some sites are more suitable for tent camping, others for trailers or recreational vehicles. RV hookups are not available, but there is a dump station.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (October 2013)|
Historical records show that the Native American culture of the Ohlone people lived in harmony with nature for many thousand years, the human population being limited by the availability of food. The way of life changed during the 18th century when the Spanish arrived on the San Mateo coast, in the search for Monterey Bay, the Spanish started the Portola expedition where they had spent two days resting near what is now the town of Half Moon Bay. They stopped here once again on their return trip and named the area the plain of Los Ansares or "The Plain of Wild Geese." With the founding of Mission Dolores (Mission San Francisco de Asís) in 1776, the San Mateo coast area came into use for grazing of mission livestock. Following secularization of the missions, in 1834 eight ranchos were granted along this section of the coast. Cattle ranching was primary agricultural activity, and San Mateo's hide and tallow trade thrived. The beach at Half Moon Bay was a gathering spot for trading and socializing between rancheros, sea captain and other visitors.
The first Americans arrived in this area in the 1850s. The Mexican settlement known as Spanishtown, a commercial center for the rancheros, was called "Halfmoon" by these Anglos; the bay itself was named "Halfmoon" due to its shape. In 1867 the local post office was identified as "Halfmoon Bay", and the spelling was changed to Half Moon Bay in 1905. Agriculture was big in Half Moon Bay at the turn of the 20th century and farm produce such as brussels sprouts, artichokes, and mushrooms along with dairy products presented quite a transportation problem. The Ocean Shore railroad was incorporated in 1905 and was serving Half Moon Bay by 1908 the tracks were laid over what is now much of Francis Beach. During the 1920s the gentle beaches of Half Moon Bay were ideally suited for the needs of the bootlegger. Rum Ships cruised off shore, unloading millions of dollars worth of illegal booze across Half Moon Bay where Francis Beach was a perfect spot for unloading the cargo. During World War II an army post was set up at the beach to protect from Japanese invasion and bombing raids, further north bunkers and long range cannons were built to support the coastline.
Half Moon Bay State Beach is well known for its rare Western Snowy Plover colony.
A variety of fish species have been identified in the marine environment, the most abundant fish including flatfish, the commercially important English Sole, Rockfish, Surfperch, Pacific herring, Lingcod, Herring; and abundant winter species including Starry Flounder and top-smelts.
|Views of surrounding landscape|
- California State Park System Statistical Report: Fiscal Year 2009/10. California State Parks. p. 30. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
- Environmental Impact Report for the Pillar Point East Harbor Master Plan, Earth Metrics Inc., prepared for the San Mateo County Harbor District, February 1989
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