Only a handful of America’s national parks permit cattle grazing. One-third of the Point Reyes National Seashore—some 18,000 acres—are dedicated to the exclusive use of two dozen ranchers. Their 6,000 cattle outnumber the native Tule elk in the park 10 to 1. When 250 elk died behind a fence during the 2014-2016 drought, National Park Service (NPS) said it had merely let nature take its course. But there is nothing natural about denying sufficient water and forage to captive wild animals in a national park. The NPS must be held accountable.
Problems at the Seashore extend far beyond dying elk. Restore Point Reyes Seashore is fighting to reform systemic management failures that threaten the future of the park itself. We are raising awareness and 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”—not subject our land to exploitation by the politically connected.
Learn more at restoreptreyesseashore.org
“There’s no park like this anywhere in the national park system. We have this incredible richness in one place and it’s rare. We need to preserve the things that have always belonged there (…) – that’s what a national park is about.”
– Ken Brower, Environmental Writer
In the midst of an urban population of more than 7 million people, Point Reyes National Seashore and its neighboring Golden Gate National Recreation Area, are unique remnants of California’s once wild coast. There are more than 1,500 native plant and animal species that depend on these national parks including: Tule elk, coyotes, bobcats, foxes, badgers, coho salmon, seals and sea lions. One hundred plant and animal species at Point Reyes Seashore are listed as rare, threatened, or endangered.
Political forces, climate change, pollution, and accelerating rates of extinction have converged to threaten the places we all own in common. Throughout Point Reyes, 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 24 ranches that operate on these public lands 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, with demand for meat and dairy in decline, ranchers at the national seashore will be permitted to “diversify” their operations. Under a new park service plan, ranchers can add more livestock like sheep, goats, and chickens to their 6,000 cattle and grow row crops. This threatens the survival of Tule elk, a species found in no other national park, because the national park will kill Tule elk to ensure the ranchers’ profits.
Urbanization, livestock grazing, logging, and agriculture have fragmented California’s native landscapes. Fewer 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 recreational, 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?
If you are an organization, please join our growing coalition in urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Restore Point Reyes National Seashore
Sign our petition as an individual to support Restoring Point Reyes National Seashore.
Contact your representatives.
Please let your Representatives know that you oppose continued ranching and killing Tule elk at our National Seashore to benefit commercial cattle operations, which pollute streams, prevent public access to recreation, damage native habitats and worsen climate change. Please see sample letter and talking points below:
In 2018, Representative Huffman wrote a bill, HR-6687, to make ranching permanent and kill elk to benefit ranchers who lease land in these national parks. The bill never reached a vote in the Senate, but Huffman says he will reintroduce it. Huffman serves on Congressional committees sworn to protect the climate, wildlife and parks. His support for ranching in the national seashore runs counter to those goals.
1527 Longworth House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Call: (202) 225-5161
San Rafael, CA:
999 Fifth Ave., Suite 290
San Rafael, CA 94901
Call: (415) 258-9657
1324 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-6065
Fax: (202) 225-5929
United States Senate
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Call: (202) 224-3841
304 Dirksen Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-4971
Fax: (202) 224-6163
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National Geographic, September 30, 2020
“Unique elk in California may be killed under controversial plan”
The National Park Service’s proposed plan for Point Reyes National Seashore would preserve ranching and cull tule elk within the park’s boundaries.
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