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What's in store for Point Arena, Stornetta lands?

  • The Point Arena Lighthouse is bathed in moonlight under a starry night . The Point Arena-Stornetta public lands has become the latest addition to the California Coastal Monument, Tuesday March 11, 2014. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Folks aren't sure what to expect, and no one can tell them. They wonder if they're ready for what comes next.

"Are we going to have 10,000 more visitors this summer, or 500?" shoemaker Aimee Taylor asked.

People, in general, "are wildly stoked," said Nathan Hake, who owns a countertop design and construction firm in town. "People are really proud that other people in the world are recognizing what a treasure this is."

Life In Point Arena

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But they're protective, as well, of the biologically rich and spectacular coastal land at issue, of the time they get to spend on it, and of their community, Hake and others said.

One woman said finding litter during a walk on the property last week made her anxious about the degree to which outsiders would appreciate "what a sacred spirit it has."

"It was only a Coke can," Kelley Kieve recalled, "but it really upset me, because it's my most favorite place on earth."

It's perhaps understandable that a community of a few thousand in and around this city of 450 people might be wary of having the world at its door, drawn by land they use and enjoy so much themselves.

Some worry the city doesn't yet have the infrastructure — enough lodging, restaurants, gas stations and other amenities — to support a sudden influx of visitors.

At the other extreme, people like real estate agent Bob Jones said they "don't want to be Carmel in 20 minutes."

Locals have seen an increase in visitors already. They attribute it to an improving economy, recent publicity about the monument campaign and, notably, a January story in the New York Times that put Point Arena and the Stornetta lands third on a list of "52 Places to Go in 2014."


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