HBNWR Dunes Units
The Lanphere and Ma-le’l Dunes Units are located at the upper end of the North Spit of Humboldt Bay, west of Mad River Slough. The most pristine remaining dune system in the Pacific Northwest, this is the site of one of the most successful dune restoration projects on the west coast, accomplished through the ongoing removal of invasive, non-native vegetation.
The Dunes Units protect endangered and rare plants within rare dune plant communities. The dunes support two globally endangered plant communities, one of which is the best of two remaining in existence. The dunes also include a number of distinct habitats from beach to forest.
The Lanphere Dunes were protected by two biology professors from Humboldt State University, William and Hortense Lanphere. They donated their land to The Nature Conservancy in 1974. The Nature Conservancy restored much of the land, added adjacent parcels, and in 1998, transferred it to Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Use on this extremely fragile area is restricted to guided public walks, with individual use permits available to those who have attended a walk.
The Ma-le'l Dunes Unit is located south of Lanphere Dunes at the upper end of the North Spit of Humboldt Bay, west of Mad River Slough.
The most pristine remaining dune system in the Pacific Northwest, the 160-acre dune unit was added to the refuge in 2005 with funding from the State Coastal Conservancy and strong support from the community. The name came from a place name of the ancestral Wiyot tribe. The new Ma-le'l Dunes is currently undergoing a five year restoration project through the ongoing removal of invasive, non-native vegetation. A public access plan will soon be implemented, allowing for walk-on use.
Visit Friends of the Dunes for a current schedule of guided walks, restoration workdays and other events.