Bolsa Chica is a small area just North of Huntington Beach Dog Back on Pacific Coast Highway that provides visitors an opportunity to observe, photograph and relax in a little oasis on the way to Seal Beach in California. It features a 1.5 mile trail loop around a water inlet. Believed to be a popular hunting ground to native American tribes at one time, in the early 1900’s it was transformed into the Bolsa Hunting Club, a prestigious duck and fowl hunting club with steep membership fees.

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In 1970 Signal Oil bought the land for development but two short years later, in 1972 The Coastal Act became California law. In 1976 Amigos de Bolsa Chica was formed to save wetlands from development. Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve was developed in 1979 as a lengthy struggle between development and preservation ensued. One plan proposed by a development firm would have created a marina for pleasure craft. In 1997 California purchased 880 acres from Signal Oil using mitigation credit. Much of the undeveloped area that has been a working oil field since World War II is pockmarked with rigs and wells. The ground is contaminated with oil, heavy metals, PCBs and mercury — a legacy of decades of drilling.

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Many people come to jog or walk the long, flat trails but this is a favorite spot for bird watchers and photographers as there are a multitude of species to view.

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There are about 1.449 acres or protected wetlands which is the largest saltwater marsh between Monterey Bay and Tijuana River Estuary. I don’t know anything about birds other than the basics. But it’s a very cool place. No charge for parking. Very few parking spaces.  Open until 8pm daily. Great place to relax and leave all the stress behind.

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