The boardwalk leads you away from the forest and meadow of the conference grounds into the windswept sand dunes. This planked trail is one quarter mile long, and was built as part of Asilomar’s dune restoration project.
As you meander along the boardwalk through the dunes’ ridges and valleys, or swales, notice the planks. The newer sections, like the portion near the barbeque area, are made of a recycled material combining plastic grocery sacks and sawdust. It is also being used to replace the original wooden planks as they wear out.
You may notice that parts of the boardwalk are built on piers. In winter and early spring, these raised sections bridge seasonal ponds, called vernal pools. These aren’t due to runoff. The water table rises during heavy rains to create ponds. Sedges and rushes replace the pools when the water dries up.
When dune restoration began in 1984, the dunes were a wasteland of bare sand and ice plant. Now, as you walk along the boardwalk, you can enjoy the dunes, much as they were before European settlement of the Monterey coast.