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The Navarro Beach (1971)

Some of the folks down by Navarro by the Sea have been very interested in the mouth of the Navarro River. Anderson Valley people should hope that any differences are amicably settled and with justice to all parties because they all like to go down there. In addition, it was Anderson Valley soil that made the beach in the first place.

I was down there yesterday. There was no one around, but I was welcomed by some very arrogant bantam roosters and some friendly dogs. The ocean was muddy for more than a mile out with more Anderson Valley soil freshly down from the hills.

Through the coming years if things don't change on the watershed there is going to be a lot more soil going down there and part of it will go to further filling up the river's estuary. So it looks like Anderson Valley has a very definite interest in the well-being of Navarro by the Sea and its surroundings and its beautiful mountainsides, to say nothing of the sand beach itself.

My first visit to the Navarro at the ocean was more than unforgettable: I was about nine years old at the time.

My father decided we would go down there to fish for trout. The night before there was the big deal of getting some hooks and lines from the Jarvis and Nichols store across the street and digging up a good supply of worms. We left very early in the morning because we traveled by horse and cart and the trip would take nearly three hours.

We started fishing at the mill and that's where I wanted to stay because the water there was alive with shiners — small perch-like fish — and they were biting. However, we went on upriver. The going was pretty slow because of the blackberry vines and the brush. We came upon a boat and tried it out for little but it leaked very badly and soon sank. No harm was done because the river had become shallow at that point.

As I remember we caught quite a few trout. I was the winner with a 14 incher. I got him by some grassy tussocks and I still remember how he came flopping out. I really had to set back on him.

Since then and after the highway was built down the river I have been there many times, almost always in the fall. I could hardly wait for the hook-bills to start running.

One cold windy morning the fish were biting like wolves and I caught my limit of three quickly right in front of a game warden who was casting from the bank. North of the river mouth is Blacksmith rock. It's a fine place for rock fishing although that part of the beach is not quite as accessible as the south paart.

That was a favorite place with Jim Peterson and the Dutro boys. I saw Marion 'Kid' Dutro land a 14 pound bullhead there one day. It had a legal sized abalone inside besides a lot of odds and ends it had picked up.

Ralph Brown and I used to do a lot of fishing there. Ralph would start fishing while I attended to the abalones first. Ralph would never take more than one. He said that was all he and Millie needed.

The Navarro beach itself is a favorite with Valley people. It is (or was) easy to get to and it's a good place for picnics. As I remember at that time we had to walk a little way from the hotel. It also seems to me that most everyone was careful about litter. There were few enough people then that litter could be buried.

It is quite evident nowadays that there is too much of it for that method of disposal. Far too many people dispose of their litter by just walking away from it.

Also with the amount of travelers these days, there is the problem of restrooms and the lack of a water supply. The parking area is not very large and there are but few campsites. It would seem better for all that overnight camping would be prohibited. That would help the parking problem and would address several other questions. Then there is the right of travel: How many can be permitted at one time? Who is to clean up? Etc.?

People who are living their have done a grand job improving the area and have helped out by taking care of the hillsides. Already the greens of the thousand hues are showing and soon the hillsides will be a mass of coastal flowers.

Although the highway winds down along the opposite hillside, there is little noise. It's very quiet and peaceful, a wonderful view if you just sit and admire the beach and the ocean.

It is our earnest hope that all parties concerned will come to a mutual agreement satisfactory to all. After all, we are wanting to drive almost over the front porch of the hotel to get to the beach. We could at least go slowly watch out for those nice dogs and those crowing little roosters.

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