Sealing the deal at Point Reyes

Elephant seals have returned to Point Reyes to meet, greet and make babies. People and dogs are restricted from Point Reyes National Seashore until the end of April to protect the seals, park Superintendent Don Neubacher said today.

The restriction applies to the area south of the South Beach parking lot, the far southern end of Drakes Beach and south of the Lifeboat Station.

The elephant seals were first spotted Dec. 19 in the Point Reyes Headlands, according to the National Park Service.

As of Tuesday, 633 elephant seals were spotted by Park Service researchers in the Point Reyes Headlands.

According to the Park Service, the best place to view the seals is the overlook near the Chimney Rock parking lot.

The number of elephant seals will increase until late January when the number of births hits its peak. In April, the pups will be weaned from their mothers and head out to sea.

To assist with the viewing of the seals, a shuttle bus will operate on weekends and holidays until early April and will run from Drakes Beach to the lighthouse and then on to Chimney Rock before returning to Drakes Beach.

Tickets can be purchased the day of the ride from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Drakes Beach for $5. Children under 16 are free.

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