Table Bluff, Humboldt Bay

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Table Bluff is a promontory and coastal plateau with an elevation of 165 feet (50 m), located at the base of a spit that encloses the southern portion of Humboldt Bay, about 5 miles (8 km) northwest of Loleta, California. The bluff was the site of a light station, a religious commune, and is now part of an ecological reserve.

The first light to mark the entrance to Humboldt Bay was built in 1856, located on the north spit near Eureka, but it was too low and often obscured by fog. In 1892, the U.S. Lighthouse Service constructed a light station on Table Bluff. During World War II the station was expanded to include lodging for horse mounted beach patrols, a coastal lookout post, and a radio compass station. In 1953, the fog signal was discontinued and the light automated. A Christian youth ministry purchased the property in 1969 and renamed it Lighthouse Ranch. The U.S. Coast Guard deactivated the light in 1971, after a new major light was established at the entrance to Humboldt Harbor. Gospel Outreach bought the property in 1971 for a religious commune. It was sold to the state in 2005 and donated to the Bureau of Land Management in 2012. The agency contracted for the demolition of all remaining structures on the property including the original fog signal building, carpenter shop, oil house, and the foundation where the tower and keeper’s residence once stood.

Table Bluff is now a county park and an ecological reserve that provides public beach access. The Table Bluff Ecological Reserve includes approximately 140 acres (56 ha) on the northwestern tip of Table Bluff. About 94 acres (38 ha) are grassland and the remainder mostly spruce forest. Most of the reserve has supported agriculture for more than a century. Approximately 30 acres (12 ha) of spruce forest and grassland remain relatively undisturbed by human influence, and a portion of this contains the largest of four populations of the endangered western lily (Lilium occidentale) known in California. Approximately 38 acres (15 ha) have been fenced to exclude cattle grazing and will be managed specifically to maintain and enhance the western lily population. Read more here and here. Explore more of Table Bluff here: