Fort Ord Dunes State Park - Marina
California's newest state park is right here in the Monterey area and it's called Fort Ord Dunes State Park. Located on the narrow stretch of coastline between Highway 1 and the bay on the former Fort Ord, this park offers about 4 miles of lightly developed coastal habitat that the Army had used for various purposes over the years, one being small arms ranges. There is one main road that runs the length of the beach, one main parking area, and numerous trails offering beach habitat. The state just approved the opening of Fort Ord Dunes Park on 14 March 2007 and it should be open to the public by the summer of 2007. The park is between Marina and Seaside/Sand City, and the entrance will be from 8th Street in Marina.
They are various dune preserves along Monterey Bay including parts of Monterey State Beach, Del Monte Dunes State Ecological Preserve, Landfill Dune Preserve, and South Monterey Bay Dunes Preserve. These dunes form a specialized habitat for plants like dune grass, California poppy, and beach morning glory as well as for animals including mice, rabbits, lizards and snakes.
It took a long time for people to realize the value of the dunes, so they were exploited in years gone by. Hwy 1 runs on top of the dunes for many miles, dunes were leveled for apartments and hotels, a landfill was created in the dunes, and there is still a sewage treatment facility in the dunes at Sand City next to Seaside.