Año Nuevo

Año House – photo copyright Brian Wehrung

Año Nuevo, a biodiversity hotspot, is located on the southern end of San Mateo County. It supports more than 300 species of invertebrates, as well as numerous fish, seabirds and marine mammals.

Interesting Facts:

  • Did you know Indians used to live here? The Quiroste an Ohlone Indian Tribe, called Año Nuevo their home thousands of years ago and remnants of their society can still be found here!
  • A Gold Mine! Año Nuevo had two items not found within 100 miles making the Quiroste one lucky tribe! The first was Monterey chert, a type of hard sharp edged stone. The Quiroste used the stone as a tool and arrowhead. The second was a small sand dwelling snail. The snail’s shell was made into beads and jewelry and traded with other tribes.
  • How loud can you whistle? In 1872 a steam fog whistle was installed at Año Nuevo Island to warn mariners of the rocky shores surrounding the area. A light station keeper maintained the whistle by continuously burning coal to produce the steam needed to create the whistle sound. Over 100,000 pounds of coal were needed every year to run the whistle!
  • What’s that old house doing on Año Nuevo Island? The house was once the home to the light station keeper and their family. When the station was shut down in 1948, the house was left abandoned and now is home to only wildlife!
  • Año Nuevo is the site of one of the largest mainland-breeding colonies of Northern Elephant Seals in the world. Piedras Blancas in San Luis Obispo County is another large mainland colony in California.
  • Every year approximately 2,000 elephant seals are born at Año Nuevo!
  • Guided walks are needed to visit this MPA during the elephant seal breeding season from mid-December to mid-March.
  • For more information please visit http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=523