Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

  • (JoAnne Disney)
  • (JoAnne Disney)
  • (JoAnne Disney)

by Jo Anne Disney

Point Lobos State Reserve is a magnificent place to visit with the most breathtaking landscapes I have ever seen. It is located “on the central coast of California in Monterey County and its entrance is located 3 miles south of Carmel on Highway 1.” History tells us that during the Spanish occupation, Point Lobos got its name from the “offshore rocks at Punta de los Lobos Marinos, Point of the Sea Wolves, where the sound of sea lions carried inland.” Records indicate that whaling activities took place at Point Lobos around 1862. Then, in the 1880’s the demand for whale oil dropped. But in 1897, there was a brief revival of the whaling industry when a Japanese company set up business, but it only last a few years. Another industry that took hold at Point Lobos was abalone harvesting. Historians believe that right after the California Gold Rush in 1849, “a small group of Chinese fishermen & their families set sail from southern China & arrived at Point Lobos around 1851 and established what may have been the first Chinese fishing settlement in California.” Once the word got out about the many abalone beds, Chinese flocked to this business. Then in the 1890’s a marine biologist from Japan, Gennosuke Kodani arrived at Point Lobos to see for himself that the abalone beds were as abundant as rumored. “Using hand-powered pumps to supply air to the divers, the Japanese at Point Lobos pioneered an industry that eventually spread up and down the California coast.”
In addition, during WWII, Point Lobos was the site of “secret military operations.” In 1943, “the Army used Whalers Cove as the site of a school to train soldiers of the 543rd Amphibious Brigade in the use of amphibious landing craft.” Point Lobos also has a rich history in the movie industry as well. Several movies filmed on location at Point Lobos including:  A Summer Place in 1959, The Notorious Landlady in 1962, The Sandpiper in 1964, The Graduate in 1967,  and Turner and Hooch in 1989, just to name a few.
If you are looking for amazing hiking trails with the most incredible scenery that includes getting up close and personal with wildlife, Point Lobos State Reserve is the place to visit. For more information call (831) 624-4909.

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