This study looks to provide accurate, base-line-data of north coast beach usage and will identify activities in the vicinity of False Klamath Cove (FKC) bird sanctuary, which is a giant smokestack rock bird rookery of some 40,000 seabirds called False Klamath Rock. A research review showed that the north coast does not have adequate statistical information for FKC nor on other north coast beach areas for beach use. In the absence of such local data other beach studies are used. Most of these surveys are in beach areas of Southern California. Such extrapolations often result in an overestimation of beach populations and recreational beach use patterns that do not fit the north coast well.
In an effort to provide current statistical data of human and domestic animal use of north coast beaches, the Eagle Eyes of False Klamath Cove/MPA Watch study was created. The information from this study should be useful for recreational beach and natural resource planning on the north coast in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. The study is being conducted as part of a growing statewide effort to use citizens to conduct monitoring and supplement limited research monies. This survey is run and conducted 90% by Native Americans from different local tribes in an area with some of the highest unemployment rates in California. Startup funding was not available because the capacity of low-income Native Americans to complete the project deliverables was doubted. The project moved forward with local volunteers and some local funding. The completed project is a positive example of citizen science and produced a high quality, statistically valid study equal to any in the state. An underlying hypothesis is that estimates from the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative of Northern California beach use were too high for rural Northern California beaches like False Klamath Cove.
Our study found that there are 85,363 annual beach visitors and 244,670 combined parking lot visitors who primarily take photos of the beach and/or selfies. This confirms our hypothesis that public use of Northern California beaches is far lower by many factors of magnitude than the Marine Life Protection Act “Levels of Protection” model projections. Since environmental factors are consistent in Northern California, they can be expected to have similar impacts on human behavior, and we expect similar results across Northern California beaches. This study explores an entirely new construct for estimating and analyzing Northern California beach behavior and use. In conclusion, this study provides a model for other citizen monitoring projects on the north coast and provides empowerment to Native peoples to conduct their own studies.
Maloney, Ruthie A. and Corbett, John W.
"California North Coast Vehicle and Human Use Beach Survey of False Klamath Cove,"
IdeaFest: Interdisciplinary Journal of Creative Works and Research from Humboldt State University: Vol. 5
, Article 9.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.humboldt.edu/ideafest/vol5/iss1/9