The History of the Hole at Bodega Head

Nov 3, 2014

Construction on the planned nuclear power plant at Bodega Bay was suspended for a year before the project was abandoned. It has since revered to a more natural scene, although the 100-foot deep pit, originally meant to hold the plant's reactor core, is still there.
Credit Sonoma County Museum

  Today it looks like a placid pond, but 50 years ago the deep hole at the base of Bodega Head was the focus of a battle that helped galvanize modern environmentalism.

  The crucial moment in the fight against the nuclear facility came when noted seismologist, Pierre St. Amand  was able to visit the site and report back to the US Department of the Interior. Doris Sloan clearly remembers the day she escorted St. Amand to that pivotal visit.


Along with Bodega Bay activist Hazel Mitchell, David Pesonen (right) celebrates PG&E's1964 decision to give up on the utility's planned Atomic Park at Bodega Bay.
Credit Sonoma County Museum

  It was Sierra Club president David Brower who called David Pesonen’s attention to the proposed power plant. But after Pesonen spoke out against it at a meeting of the Public Utilities Commission, he recalls, he was called on the carpet before his boss.


Pesonen went on the get his law degree, and was later hired by the Sierra Club to fight other nuclear facilities farther north on the California coast.

The Exhibit at the Sonoma County Museum is titled “The Battle for Bodega Bay and the Birth of the Environmental Movement."  It opened over the weekend, and will remain up through February 9th.