ACR Preserves dot the Tomales Bay Shoreline
ACR properties along the Tomales Bay shoreline protect valuable habitat areas. The terrain includes sandy beaches, mudflats, tidal wetlands and coastal uplands—most notably at Cypress Grove, Toms Point, Walker Creek Delta and Olema Marsh. The Tomales Bay estuary offers extraordinary opportunities for conservation biology due to its simple shape, intermediate size, biological richness and undisturbed quality relative to the nearby San Francisco Bay.
Surrounded by tall Monterey Cypress hedges, the manicured garden and delicate Victorian cabins of the Cypress Grove Preserve contrast sharply with the surrounding wildness of the native grasslands and coastal wetlands. After a narrow-gauge steam railroad made the area accessible in the 1870s, Cypress Grove was used as a hunting and fishing lodge, as well as a chicken ranch, a box factory and a chinchilla farm.
After visiting Cypress Point as a child in the 1920s, architect Clifford Conly returned in 1952 to create an idyllic weekend retreat. Later, Conly donated the property to Audubon Canyon Ranch to house its Conservation Science programs, which were established in 1988.
Today, the Cypress Grove Preserve houses ACR's Cypress Grove Research Center. Here, scientists and volunteers study wintering shorebirds and waterbirds on Tomales Bay, track breeding songbirds in the central Mayacamas Mountains, and monitor heron and egret nesting performance throughout the northern San Francisco Bay Area.
Location and access
Cypress Grove Preserve is located on the eastern shore of Tomales Bay just north of the town of Marshall, California. Both the preserve and the research center are closed to the public, but special access is available by appointment only. Email Cypress Grove Preserve staff for more information.
- Leslie Sophia Lindell