“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.”
Cattleman and spokesperson for ranchers at the Point Reyes National Seashore, Kevin Lunny, the former Drakes Bay oyster entrepreneur who passed on millions of dollars in clean up costs to taxpayers,takes his grievances to President Trump. Fast forward to 9:50 to View Lunny at the White House.
Thank you to all who submitted comments to the National Park Service’s Draft Plan and Environmental Impact Statement for ranching at Point Reyes National Seashore. The NPS says it received 7,600 public comments to the plan.
The Park Service’s “preferred” plan for the Seashore (Alternative B) is a giveaway to the 24 ranchers who continue run their cattle in our national park, despite the fact that beef and dairy consumption is in decline. Ranching operations in this national park have steadily grown to industrial scale. Ranchers and their lobbyists are doing what they can to hold on at the Seashore 50 years after they were paid millions for their land and given 25 years to move out. Alternative B would permit them to grow crops, raise pigs, sheep, and goats; and extend cattle grazing leases for 20-years. Further, native Tule elk that graze on parkland leased for cattle will be shot. Some 28,000 acres of our Seashore are reserved for domestic cattle, which outnumber native elk 10 to 1.
Cattlemen have been working behind the scenes to permanently instate ranching at the Seashore, despite public opinion and known impacts to the park’s land, water, and endangered species. Methane from cattle is the number one source of greenhouse gas emissions at the Seashore. Rep. Huffman and Senator Feinstein claim concerns for the climate even as they buried language in appropriation bills to benefit Seashore ranchers and co-sponsored legislation with Republicans handing over our public lands to oil and gas, mining, logging, and grazing interests.
PLEASE TAKE A FEW MINUTES TO CONTACT THEM ABOUT THE NPS’S PLAN TO KILL TULE ELK TO BENEFIT CATTLE RANCHERS AT POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE.
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. Millions of visitors arrive annually to experience the wild Pacific coast, wind-swept grassy vistas, and landscapes that still hold remnants of what California looked like 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.
RESTORE POINT REYES INDEX
Ranching by the Numbers at Point Reyes National Seashore
Parks in Peril
Political forces, climate change, pollution, and accelerating rates of extinction have converged to threaten the places we all own in common. The pressure is on to allow oil and gas development, mining, hunting, logging, and grazing in some of our most beautiful, biologically diverse, and historic places—national parks, monuments, wilderness, and recreation areas. Although we all support public lands through our taxes, private interests are increasingly emboldened to exploit them for private profit. To make matters worse, federal budget cuts have led to crippling staff reductions at a time when demand for outdoor recreation and visits to our national parks are at an all time high. How do we defend America’s heritage and ensure that national parks will be “unimpaired” for generations to come?
Why Restore Point Reyes?
Urbanization, livestock grazing, logging, and agriculture have fragmented California’s native landscapes. Less than one percent of California’s grassland is still intact today. Remnants of once-vast coastal prairies still exist at Point Reyes National Seashore and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, with the potential to recover the rich biodiversity that has been lost to decades of cattle operations. To provide refuge for wildlife; restore habitats for threatened and endangered species; improve water quality; provide educational and volunteer opportunities; sustain cultural traditions of native peoples; preserve America’s natural heritage—is this not what our national parks were created for?
Speak Up for Your Park
Does ranching further the purposes of the national seashore? Are park ranchers who sold their land entitled to permanently profit from it? Who benefits from ranching? Do those benefits outweigh impacts to the climate, land, wildlife, and public enjoyment of the national park?
We all are have a stake in the future of our public lands. Polls show that the public favors greater protection for national parks and monuments. But agricultural interests have opposed the scientific analyses and management planning that the Seashore needs and the public deserves. They are working behind the scenes to change the law rather than risk that a concerned public will derail their plans for the Seashore. That’s why it’s crucial to stay informed and to take part in the planning process.
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What and Who are Parks For?
Private ranching on 28,000 acres at Point Reyes National Seashore and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area is heavily subsidized by taxpayers. Impacts from the 6,000 beef and dairy cows at these parks are well documented: soil erosion, water pollution, invasive plants, declines in fish and bird populations, conflicts with wildlife, loss of public access to public land. Native Tule elk, the iconic symbol of Point Reyes Seashore, are found in no other national park. Most of the elk are confined behind an 8-foot-high fence to keep them off parkland leased for cattle grazing. Now, ranchers at the national seashore are pushing to “diversify” their operations. They want to add more livestock like sheep, goats, and chickens, and grow row crops. This calls into question the purpose of our national parks.
Under a 2016 court ruling, the Park Service must analyze the impacts of cattle to natural resources, wildlife, and recreation at Point Reyes Seashore and the adjacent Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The Park Service is required to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and update the Seashore’s 40-year-old General Management Plan (GMPA). The planning process gives the public a voice in deciding the future of these national parks. The articles, studies, and historical record assembled on this website are intended to inform and empower you to take action. Your comments are crucial to regaining the ecological balance and abundance of our national parks that are every Americans rightful heritage.
Join the NPS’s mailing list to be notified of public meetings and opportunities to comment.