2,200 acres. Located in the Santa Cruz Mountains of west-central California, Butano State Park has 400 acres of virgin forest and many redwoods. Mule deer, coyote, and fox are among the wildlife.

Activities: Twenty miles of trails are available for hiking and backpacking.

Camping Regulations: Camping is limited to a single small trail camp, which is located along one of the fire roads some distance from the entrance. Advance reservations are necessary. Campfires are not allowed. A stove must be brought for cooking.

For Further Information: Butano State Park, P.O. Box 9, Pescadero, CA 94060; (415)879-0173.


One interesting point to note is that even though there are something like 6,000 seals (or maybe more) around the Farne Islands, there are still huge, dense shoals of saithe, plenty of cod and individual pollack weighing up to four kilos swimming with the seals over places like Whirl Rocks. The trip boats miss some of the best places where seals congregate on a regular basis and anyone with a boat can visit them privately. By approaching slowly and quietly, it is quite easy to get very close to the colonies without scattering them in every direction. The best time is at the bottom of the tide, when the small islets and rocks are showing, because most of the seals will have hauled themselves out to rest. The favourite sites with resident seals are the east side of Crumstone and the Callers, the north side of Knavestone, the small islets on the east side of Longstone near the lighthouse, the southeast end of Longstone, the south side of the Wamses, South Goldstone, the south corner of Megstone, around the Bush and inside Knoxes Reef. Late in the summer the seals come in large numbers from the other areas to rest on the north side of Little and Big Harcars. The best areas to snorkel or to encounter seals underwater at low tide are north of Knavestone, the narrow little lagoon on the east side of Longstone where the three little islets are, in the horseshoe-shaped bay called Brada, the southwest corner of Megstone, the east side of Crumstone, the V-shaped gully at the north end of North Wamses and, late in summer, the north side of Little Harcar and South Wamses. There are many diving clubs that go to the Farne Islands just to dive or swim with the seals and while it can be a very satisfying experience to have half a dozen or more youngsters playing around you like puppies, seals do sometimes bite. It may only be a playful puppy-like nip but it could be for real, so it is worth remembering that they have needle-sharp teeth which can easily penetrate a thin neoprene glove. Apart from the immediate pain, it could turn out to be a nasty experience because seals carry some very serious and potentially lethal diseases.

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