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More Seals May Visit Drakes Beach As Wetlands Restoration Keeps Tourists Away

Construction work at Drakes Beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore is progressing, with the old parking lot now “pulverized” and preparations for a restored wetland about half done, a national park service spokesperson said.

Workers have completed about 50 percent of preparations such as excavation that were required before about one-third of the parking lot could be returned to its natural function, according to Christine M. Beekman, public information officer for the seashore.

The beach was closed to public access on May 3 and is expected to remain closed through August 31. The restoration will open a channel that will allow sea water in during high tides and storms,

Dave Press, natural resources manager for Point Reyes National Seashore, said in a statement provided by Beekman. Press said that is expected to benefit native plants and associated wildlife but not to affect Drakes Estero or the beach.

The wetland was filled by the National Park Service in 1965 when it created the parking lot. Press said wildlife probably will be scarce near the construction area while work is under way, but the absence of visitors may cause wildlife activity to increase on the beach.

“Most notably, northern elephant seals which are present during the spring and summer for the annual molt may use beach areas closer to the Visitor Center than normally observed,” Press said.

The project began in April and is expected to end in August.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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