FRIENDS OF THE DUNES
The Humboldt Coastal Nature Center is now open, Wednesday-Saturday 10 am - 4 pm.
The Humboldt Coastal Nature Center is unique in our region. Its location makes it a public gateway to over 1,000 acres of coastal lands, and its facilities and programming make it the only center on California’s North Coast where people of all ages and abilities experience and learn about all the diverse habitats of the Humboldt Bay area. The Humboldt Coastal Nature Center’s exhibits, trails, and programs combine experiential education, conservation-minded recreational access, and hands-on restoration activities to increase public understanding of local coastal environments and to inspire community-driven stewardship of these fragile resources.
Click the image below to download a PDF of the HCNC Trail Map.
Known locally as "the Stamps House", this building was once the home of Charles and Rachel Stamps. The couple built the house in 1985 as a retirement home from an earth shelter kit. They enjoyed sharing the home and access to the beach with family and friends and wanted to be sure that the property and surrounding environments could be enjoyed for generations to come.
After Charles and Rachel passed away, members of the Stamps family contacted Friends of the Dunes to see if they were interested in the property. After months of negotiations, it was agreed that the Stamps family trust would sell a portion of the property, along with the house, to Friends of the Dunes to be developed into a nature center. The sale was completed in 2007 and the renovation began in 2010. The Stamps family retained 17 acres adjacent to Friends of the Dunes along with the two barns on the property. Family members continue to visit the property and hold family gatherings.
Trails and restrooms are open during daylight hours. On a limited basis, Friends of the Dunes will make the Nature Center available for meetings, gatherings, and events. Please review the Rental Guidelines & Application Form.
The facility includes:
Living Roof planted with native dune plants.
Public spaces for exhibits and programs focused on conserving coastal habitats
Public restrooms that incorporate green building features such as low-flow water fixtures, solar hot water, radiant heat, passive venting, natural lighting, and finishes made of recycled materials
New Nature Center that preserves the original structure’s architectural elements
Please contact us for more information and to reserve your rental.
The Nature Center continues to be a work in progress and its continued development depends on community support. Future plans for the site include the creation of a second floor that would allow for a resource library, interactive exhibit galleries, gift shop, renovated cupola, kitchen, and two ADA accessible trails. See the proposed plan below.
FORMER BARR PARCEL
Friends of the Dunes submitted an application to the Humboldt County Planning Department in 2014 for a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) amendment, in order to enhance trail access at the 3.6-acre former Barr property located on Lupin Avenue in Manila. In October 2022, we were finally issued a permit to conduct these improvements! Trail improvements have been designed to minimize impacts to sensitive habitat while allowing for continued neighborhood access by hikers, equestrians, and dog walkers. The newly designated trails on the former Barr parcel connect to the established network of trails on the rest of the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center property, allowing for miles of exploration in the dunes.
The former Barr parcel trailhead will also see modest improvements, including a new fence on Lupin Avenue designed to allow pedestrian and equestrian access while blocking access to motorized vehicles. A small sign will be installed, set back from the road, to orient visitors to the trails and to their dune exploration.
Please keep in mind this is a neighborhood trail; there is no parking available at the Barr trailhead or on Lupin Avenue. We want to respect our neighbors' privacy, and we want to be good neighbors. If you are coming from out of the neighborhood, please start your journey in the dunes at the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center (at 220 Stamps Lane) instead, where you will find ample parking, water, restrooms, and orientation materials.
Our amended Coastal Development permit also allows for the continued implementation of an approved Restoration and Management Plan for community-supported native dune habitat restoration activities on all Humboldt Coastal Nature Center properties, including the former Barr parcel.
Thanks to our neighbors and supporters, who worked with Friends of the Dunes to refine this project and ensure community support for our continued work toward greater dune habitat conservation, ecosystem restoration, and public access.
HUMBOLDT COASTAL NATURE CENTER
The Humboldt Coastal Nature Center is an undertaking of Friends of the Dunes, a local not-for-profit that conserves the natural diversity of coastal environments through community-supported education and stewardship programs. Friends of the Dunes purchased the unique structure known locally as the “Stamps House” and the first 38 acres from the Stamps family in 2007. Now totaling 122 acres, the property bridges the gap between adjacent public tracts, linking coastal lands managed for resource conservation and public access.
Friends of the Dunes began renovation of the building into a public Nature Center in 2010, thanks to the support from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the California State Coastal Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Board, and community donors. In July of 2011, the first phase of renovations was completed and the Nature Center building was opened to the public. The Nature Center is in the process of becoming LEED-certified and will include interpretive information on green building and design practices.