Happy 5th Birthday, Piedras Blancas and Jupiter Inlet ONAs!
On May 8, 2008, President Bush signed PL 110-229 into law, establishing the Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area in California and the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area in Florida. The Outstanding Natural Area (ONA) designations enable the BLM to protect, conserve, and enhance the unique and nationally important historic, natural, cultural, scientific, educational , scenic, and recreational values of these American treasures.
Piedras Blancas Light Station is located on a rugged windswept point of land six miles north of Hearst Castle, along California’s scenic Highway One. First illuminated as an aid to navigation in 1875, the lighthouse still casts a beam of light to guide mariners along the rocky California coast. Today the lighthouse beckons the visitor, offering a glimpse into history and a respite from the modern world. For more on the unique history and natural wonder of Piedras Blancas, visit http://on.doi.gov/MdHrmL .
There are few locations where history and the natural environment have so perfectly converged as the Jupiter Inlet. The abundant fresh water and rich fisheries at the confluence of the Loxahatchee and Indian Rivers lured Juan Ponce De Leon in 1513 to take respite at Jupiter Inlet for several days, and attracted indigenous people for thousands of years. Today, the same Indian River, which graces the eastern border of the ONA is one of the richest and most biologically diverse estuaries in North America. The ONA currently contains 25 species either listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the State of Florida, or being watched by the Florida Natural Areas Inventory and includes four federally listed species. In addition, the rivers bordering JILONA are designated critical habitat for the endangered West Indian manatee. Manatees have been documented using the tidal lagoon constructed in JILONA, and the adjacent waters are used regularly by manatees traveling through the area. For more on the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse ONA, visit http://on.doi.gov/15m0x12