Andrew Molera State Park
|Andrew Molera State Park|
The beach in Andrew Molera State Park
|Location||Monterey County, California, USA|
|Nearest city||Carmel, California|
|Area||4,766 acres (1,929 ha)|
|Governing body||California Department of Parks and Recreation|
Andrew Molera State Park is a state park of California, United States, preserving relatively undeveloped land on the Big Sur coast. Situated at the mouth of the Big Sur River, the property was part of the Rancho El Sur land grant, and later owned by the Cooper-Molera ranching family. His sister Frances Molera stipulated that the park should be named for her brother Andrew Molera, who popularized the artichoke in California in 1922, when she sold the property to The Nature Conservancy in 1965.
Activities at the park include hiking, fishing and beachcombing, with miles of trails winding through meadows, beaches and hilltops. A primitive walk-in trail camp, popular with hikers and bikers, is located approximately one-third of a mile from the parking area. It is considered the most reliable surfing area in Big Sur.
The Ventana Wildlife Society has established a Discovery Center within the park. The Discovery Center includes exhibits on local wildlife (including the California condor) and a bird banding lab. Scientists and other lab employees give regular tours of Andrew Molera State Park, explaining the flora and fauna that are unique to the area.
The park also features a year-round waterfall, 40-foot (12 m) Highbridge Falls. Other nearby waterfalls include Limekiln Falls, Salmon Creek Falls, McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, and Pfeiffer Falls in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.
Andrew Molera State Park has over 20 miles (32 km) of hiking trails. Some run along the shore, others along the Big Sur River, while still others climb to high ridges with views of the entire Big Sur coast.
The only camping available in the park is in a 24-site walk-in campground. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. The campground is particularly popular with European visitors. No dogs are allowed on the trails or campground.
Marine protected areas
Point Sur State Marine Reserve and Marine Conservation Area are marine protected areas offshore from Andrew Molera State Park. Like underwater parks, these marine protected areas help conserve ocean wildlife and marine ecosystems.
John Bautista Rogers Cooper traded Rancho Bolsa del Potrero y Moro Cojo in the northern Salinas Valley with Juan Bautista Alvarado for the Rancho El Sur on which the state park is located today. When the Mexican government ceded California to the United States after the Mexican-American War, the Land Act of 1851 required grantees to provide proof of their title. Cooper filed a claim for Rancho El Sur with the Public Land Commission in 1852, and he received the legal land patent after year of litigation in 1866.
Cooper's daughter Amelia married Eusebio Joseph Molera in 1875. When their son Andrew Molera died, his sister Frances, granddaughter of Juan Baustista Roger Cooper, inherited the land. In 1965, almost 100 years after her family gained title, she sold 2,200-acre (8.9 km2) of the original Cooper land grant to The Nature Conservancy, which held the beachfront property in trust until the state could finance the purchase of the land. She stipulated that the park should be named Andrew Molera State Park in honor of her brother in 1965.
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