The Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is a popular destination for people seeking tidepool experiences, hiking, scenic views, and rare opportunities for solitude in the crowded Bay Area. Increasingly, however, visitor impacts are taking their toll on this unique and irreplaceable site.
Visitation has a direct influence on the Reserve’s marine life forms in the form of inadvertent trampling, illegal collecting, inappropriate handling, and disturbance of marine mammals. Visitors and watershed residents also inadvertently contribute to erosion processes that affect upland and tidepool ecology.
The 2002 Fitzgerald Marine Reserve Master Plan identified visitor education as a priority in a wider plan for overall protection of sensitive resources found at the Reserve. As part of that vision, this plan defines the need for an Education Center, interpretive exhibits, and outdoor interpretive amenities. It also explores options for enhanced education programming. The San Mateo County Parks and Recreation Foundation spearheaded the effort to address this priority and funded development of this conceptual interpretive plan.