“To conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”
Organic Act of 1916 establishing the National Park Service

What We Are Fighting For

Only a handful of America’s national parks permit cattle grazing. One-third of the Point Reyes National Seashore—some 18,000 acres—IS dedicated to the exclusive use of two dozen ranchers. There are 6,000 cattle in the Seashore, more than there are Tule elk on the planet. Cows outnumber elk in the park 10 to 1. But the problems at the Seashore extend far beyond elk. Restore Point Reyes Seashore is fighting to reform management failures that threaten the future of the park itself. We are raising awareness, inspiring public involvement, and taking appropriate action— including in the courts. We don’t engage in nor endorse anyone breaking the law—including the NPS. Our goal is to require the NPS to follow the law— managing our national parks and the wildlife and resources therein “unimpaired for future generations.”

For Immediate Release, January 9th, 2021

Deborah Moskowitz, Resource Renewal Institute, (415)-928-3774, dmoskowitz@rri.org
Chance Cutrano, Resource Renewal Institute, (312)-403-3702, ccutrano@rri.org

David Stares. Goliath Blinks. 
Coastal Commission Receives Thousands of Comments Opposing Park Service Plan
NPS Postpones State Review of Pt Reyes Ranching

MARIN, Calif. – A week before its public hearing before the California Coastal Commission, the National Park Service (NPS) withdrew its application seeking Commission approval for a controversial General Management Plan Amendment (GMPA) for ranching at Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation. The hearing has not been rescheduled.

The plan to extend 20-year leases to 24 beef and dairy ranchers on national parkland was in the final approval stages when the Park Service withdrew it from the Commissioners’ agenda.  The NPS had previously rejected a request by the Coastal Commission staff for more time to review the complex plan.

Over the last four years, the Trump Administration has badly weakened environmental regulations and fast-tracked leases for oil and gas, logging, mining and grazing on public lands. The NPS has been without a Director for most of Trump’s presidency. The NPS had insisted that the Commission’s review of the proposed Point Reyes plan, required by state law, be completed before January 20, 2021—the day the Trump Administration leaves office, creating the perception that the plan was being rushed to satisfy favored special interests.

In recent weeks, the Coastal Commission received more than 20,000 public comments critical of the NPS plan and its timeline, which appeared intended to deny the Commission sufficient time to analyze the impacts of commercial ranching on the State’s coastal resources.  In addition, more than 100 national conservation and environmental justice organizations signed a letter asking the Coastal Commission to withhold its approval of the plan pending further analysis.

The NPS had asserted that extending ranching operations on 28,000 acres at Point Reyes National Seashore and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area is “consistent to the maximum extent practicable with the California Coast Management Program.”

But Commission staff had raised concerns about “spillover” impacts from the ranches affecting wildlife and habitats in the Coastal Zone. Water quality at the National Seashore is among the worst in California due to agricultural runoff.  Commission staff had recommended conditioning approval of the NPS ranching plan on compliance with water quality standards before the NPS could issue any leases to cattle operators.

Scientists who commented on the plan cited lack of analyses of other possible impacts to coastal resources. The NPS had deferred providing “programmatic details” to the Commission on plans for diversifying livestock, planting crops and permitting other commercial activities in the park.

Ranching has been ongoing since the NPS bought the ranches more than 50 years ago to create Point Reyes National Seashore. Nearly 6,000 cattle graze the park. Historically, the NPS routinely handed out leases to the ranchers without public input. A lawsuit by environmental groups in 2016 required the NPS to prepare the first-ever Environmental Impact Statement on ranching, subject to public comment.

The NPS received more than 7,600 public comments to its draft plan last fall. 90 percent of comments opposed commercial ranching in the park and objected to the NPS’s plan to kill native elk that ranchers complain eat grass reserved for their cattle.

“Ranchers have powerful political allies and have long dominated management priorities at the Seashore, said Chance Cutrano, Director of Programs at Resource Renewal Institute, the local organization leading the effort to restore the park for wildlife and the public. “Documents show that the White House meant to expedite this process, so this postponement of the plan until the next Administration takes office is a victory for us. We will continue to fight to see that this national park will be unimpaired for future generations, as federal law intends.”

“The Trump Administration and decades of NPS mismanagement have taken a toll—ignoring climate change, accelerating extinctions, and exploiting public land,” said Deborah Moskowitz, president of Resource Renewal Institute. “This park belongs to 380 million Americans and coastal resources that belong to 40 million Californians. Point Reyes National Seashore is one of a kind.  It’s our line in the sand.”

Whose Park?

America’s national parks belong to all of us. But the National Park Service puts cattle first at Point Reyes National Seashore. The Public dollars purchased these lands 50 years ago but beef and dairy ranching on these national parklands continues. Despite strong public opposition, the NPS and elected officials insist that private ranching will continue on these lands for decades to come. WATCH THE 3 MINUTE FILM

Welcome to Point Reyes National Cattle Ranch

The decision to continue livestock production in Point Reyes National Seashore demonstrates once again why allowing any commercial resource use in our parklands compromises the primary goals of our park system—which is to manage public lands for public values, not private profit. READ MORE

Unique elk in California may be killed under controversial plan

The calamity that befell the buffalo at the hands of pioneer settlers in the mid- and late 1800s is well known: Tens of millions of the animals were hunted almost to extinction. Less well known is what was happening at the same time in California, the only home of the continent’s smallest elk—the last of which are in the crosshairs at a national park. READ MORE

National Park Service allows for the killing of native elk to appease ranchers, angering conservationists

The struggle between conservationists and cattle ranchers, caught in a decades-long tug of war was just extended by the NPS: a newly announced management plan providing the ranchers with an extra line of rope in the form of a 20-year extension of their leases and a controversial policy that will see the culling of native elk. READ MORE

Cover Story: Riding Herd

Rep. Huffman, who worked with right-wing members of Congress in an effort to permanently instate ranching at the national seashore, has called for killing Tule elk. READ MORE

Point Reyes Seashore & Yellowstone allegedly managed for cows over native wildlife

Newly released documents tend to confirm conservationists’ suspicion that the National Park Service under the Trump administration is managing wildlife habitat in both iconic parks chiefly for the benefit of cattle ranchers. READ MORE

Reflections on the 58th Anniversary of Point Reyes National Seashore By Ken Brower

As a boy I was witness, a fly on the wall, to the creation of Point Reyes National Seashore. In the photograph above, surrounding President Kennedy as he signs the seashore into law, are a number of familiar faces. The tall, graying man on the far right is my father, David Brower, the first executive director of the Sierra Club. READ MORE

September 13, 1962. JFK signs the enabling legislation for Point Reyes National Seashore. 
Photo by White House photographer Abbie Rowe.


90 Percent of Public Comments to NPS Plan for Point Reyes National Seashore Oppose Ranching 

View the coded comments: https://restoreptreyesseashore.org/docs/Processed_Comments_Combined.docx
View the analysishttps://restoreptreyesseashore.org/docs/PRNS_GMP_Summary_Sheet.xlsx
Coding method explainedhttps://restoreptreyesseashore.org/docs/Analysis_Overview_final.docx

A Remnant of Wild California

In the midst of an urban population of more than 7 million people, Point Reyes National Seashore and its neighboring park, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, are unique fragments of wild California. Rare bunch grasses and wildflowers, Tule elk and spawning salmon are among more than 1,500 plant and animal species that depend on these national parks. Of these, more than 50 animal species and 50 plant species at Point Reyes Seashore are listed as rare, threatened, or endangered. The United Nations designated these parks as an International Biosphere Reserve in 1988. Millions of visitors arrive annually to experience the wild Pacific coast, wind-swept vistas, and rare native plants and wildlife –remnants of what California was before European Contact. These national parks are at the center of a tug-of-war between public and private interests that soon will determine the future of these parks.

Ranching by the Numbers at Point Reyes National Seashore

Just Add Water!

The dairies in the Seashore produce 86,227,600 pounds of manure every year. What to do with all that poop? Just add water and spread! The NPS permits the spreading of manure slurry as standard practice. No surprise that the park has the distinction of having some of the worst water pollution in California.

Environmental Titan Huey D. Johnson Dies at 87

Mill Valley, Calif.—For six decades Huey D. Johnson was a steadfast force for nature, protecting wild rivers and securing millions of acres of land as Western Regional Director of the Nature Conservancy, and later as its president; as founder of the Trust for Public Land and as California’s Secretary of Resources, where he spearheaded “Investment for Prosperity,” a 100-year plan that became a blueprint for sustainability programs worldwide. READ MORE

View the Live Stream Memorial Service in Remembrance of Huey Johnson from August 14, 2020

Watch and Share the film “The Killing of a Native Species.”

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