Founded in 1999, the Dunes Center is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization. The Dunes Center was originally conceived by a group of concerned citizens and in 1989 the Nature Conservancy’s efforts to help preserve and restore the Guadalupe Beach and Oso Flaco Lake Natural Areas planted the seeds for a dunes visitor center. The Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Complex is comprised of 18 miles of coastline and is one of the most ecologically significant and largest intact coastal dune ecosystems on earth. A significant portion of the nearly 22,000 acres is under public management and open for recreation.
The Dunes Center was finally opened in 1996 in a small storefront in central Guadalupe and evolved, over time, into our current existence. In 1998, the Dunes Center, seeking non-profit status, was adopted by the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County and eventually became an independent and thriving non-profit in 1999.
We have a thriving education program, reaching over 4,000 students annually. We offer docent led walks in the dunes. We have guest speakers for our volunteers, members, and local community. We have quarterly Members Events. In addition, we are the Administrator of what is known as the Dunes Collaborative—a coalition of state agencies, federal agencies, local governments, and nonprofits.
The Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes are a National Natural Landmark and this beautiful natural resource is a perfect place to visit and enjoy nature; our Interpretive Center provides information and activities for all of our visitors.
Our mission is to promote the conservation and restoration of the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes ecosystem through education, research, and the support of cooperative stewardship.
We achieve these goals by offering free and low cost education programs to local students through schools, community organizations like the Boys and Girls Club of America and through our interpretive center in Guadalupe, CA located on Highway 1. Our programs all help to increase public knowledge about he Dunes Complex that stretches from Pismo Beach in the north to Point Sal in the south. We also foster cooperative stewardship through our role as the Dunes Collaborative Administrator. The Dunes Collaborative is a coalition of stakeholders and includes California Department of Parks and Recreation, Oceano District, US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Center for Natural Lands Management, the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County, the Dunes Center, and local governments. The Collaborative projects include research in the dunes, restoration projects, education programs, and many other science and visitor service based programs.