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  1. TopTop #1
    SunnysideUP's Avatar
    SunnysideUP
     

    Point Reyes National Seashore needs our help

    Hello friends,

    I'm reaching out as the organizer of a discussion series - Pt Reyes: A Wilderness in Peril. We are a grassroots group of citizen advocates, biologists, filmmakers and local leaders working to bring awareness to the threats facing our beloved national seashore. If you're unaware of any threats, don't despair - I too presumed that our national park and its wildlife and wilderness was being well cared for and protected for future generations. Sadly, we are wrong in entrusting the NPS to do the right thing.

    There's been an ongoing battle at PRNS that is complex in its' involvement of corruption and private interests. In short, this is a battle of what's good for the environment and what's good for private industries in the form of large scale ranching operations that comprise 30% of the park lands.

    But this is not a question of whether ranching is right or wrong, rather it is a question of whether ranching is an appropriate activity to be permitted in a national park whose mission is stated as: (a) Protection, restoration, and preservation of natural environment Except as otherwise provided in sections 459c to 459c-7 of this title, the property acquired by the Secretary under such sections shall be administered by the Secretary without impairment of its natural values, in a manner which provides for such recreational, educational, historic preservation, interpretation, and scientific research opportunities as are consistent with, based upon, and supportive of the maximum protection, restoration, and preservation of the natural environment within the area,...

    To this point, ongoing private cattle grazing is incompatible with the purposes for which the Point Reyes National Seashore was established. Ranching at the Seashore has resulted in overgrazing, water pollution, invasive weeds, and reductions of native species, including some protected under the Endangered Species Act and is the seashore’s #1 source of greenhouse gases contributing to climate change.

    The livestock-polluted waters of Point Reyes National Seashore rank in the top 10 percent of U.S. locations most contaminated by feces indicated by E. coli bacteria, according to a report published on the investigative journalism website The Revelator.


    The report also discloses that Point Reyes National Seashore has been one of the 10 most feces-contaminated locations monitored in California since 2012 and that the state’s highest reported E. coli level was on a Point Reyes cattle ranch.

    Tule Elk are an ecologically important part of the landscape of Point Reyes National Seashore. Their recovery is a success story for restoring native ecosystems, consistent with the mission of the National Park Service and yet the NPS is proposing a plan to kill half the population of Elk at the request of ranchers.

    Ranching on public land is not a right, it is a privilege. Commercial lease holders should not dictate wildlife removal or exclusion policies. Confinement, fencing, removal, hazing, and killing of wildlife in the national park for the benefit private ranch operators is unacceptable.

    We believe that given the founding purposes of Point Reyes National Seashore, commercial leases or activities at the Seashore should not conflict nor interfere with the protection of natural or cultural resources or public access to the park.

    I'd appreciate feedback, questions and hope to inspire general discussion on how we can save our backyard gem. Thank you.
    Last edited by Barry; 05-24-2020 at 02:38 PM.
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  2. TopTop #2
    gypsey's Avatar
    gypsey
     

    Re: Point Reyes National Seashore needs our help

    One of my questions is who are these ranchers? Is this corporate ranching or are these the original families who settled this area of Marin County? Or both? And who is doing the despoiling, what local ranching community cooperation do you have? To sum up, just as in Africa, these issues are complicated and more information about the situation and history behind the current problems, would be appreciated. Thanks.

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    Last edited by Barry; 05-25-2020 at 11:42 AM.
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  4. TopTop #3
    SunnysideUP's Avatar
    SunnysideUP
     

    Re: Point Reyes National Seashore needs our help

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by gypsey: View Post
    Good questions. I'm going to borrow my answer from one who's done extensive research on this. I emphasize extensive because this information is not readily available nor is it commonly known.

    'The ranchers who lease our National Sea shore come from the founding families of Marin (a point they readily make as they claim how many generations they have been here). These original families have owned immense land holdings in Marin for well over a century, some as far back as the 1850’s. The Point Reyes ranchers were paid $57.7 million for theSeashore lands (a sum that would equal over $350 million today)when they decided to sell their lands; thus they are far from dire financial straits. These families are likeMarin’s aristocracy, holding positions of influence and power in theCounty for over 150 years. Parks and baseball fields are named after them; plaques with their names on them are cemented in front of our CivicCenter; they are our County Supervisors, judges, and heads of influential organizations; and they have been pressing the levers of power to maintain hold on lands that are no longer theirs, countering thewill of the people.'

    In short these ranchers sold their land to the park and rather than relocating within the 25 years stipulated in the agreement, they kept the money and arranged short term leases that ran for decades allowing them to run their cattle at sub-market grazing fees, living in their old houses at token rents, and paying zero taxes while growing their political clout.

    Make no mistake, these are not small quaint family ranches. There are at least 6000 cattle on PRNS. That's roughly 133,533,900 lbs. pounds of manure produced annually by all ranches in managed by PRNS. And where does all that manure go? We don't know because PRNS management plan is 15 -20 years behind in regulating water quality and the ranches receive waivers.

    We are not working with any ranching cooperation because there isn't any motivation for them to move. Why would they? We are working on behalf of the rest of the population who would like to see our national park restored to the purpose for which it was intended: "Protection, restoration, and preservation of natural environment ..."
    Last edited by Barry; 05-25-2020 at 11:43 AM.
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  6. TopTop #4
    forveterans49's Avatar
    forveterans49
     

    Re: Point Reyes National Seashore needs our help

    Cattle Ranchers sure seem to think they have a right to do whatever they damn well please.

    I don't know how many petitions I have signed for different animal groups that are dealing with ranchers taking over and having wild horses and burros rounded up and slaughtered or believing they can lie about bison having the disease Brucellosis, which they do NOT) so they get the BLM to haze and slaughter bison, even with their calves. We remember that crazy gun-carrying group in Oregon, the Bundy's who have continued grazing their cattle on federal land without paying the taxes--and they believe they are in control. I really don't care much for those type of cattle ranchers who think they can do whatever they want without caring about others.

    This fight over the Pt. Reyes National Seashore is ridiculous and should be ended like now! I don't give a damn if these are ranchers whose families have been here for years and years, there is no excuse for wanting to kill wildlife and contaminate the water with the poop, etc. etc.

    This is just madness.

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    Last edited by Barry; 05-25-2020 at 11:45 AM.
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  8. TopTop #5
    gypsey's Avatar
    gypsey
     

    Re: Point Reyes National Seashore needs our help

    Thank you for your considered and informative reply. I see your concerns and applaud your crusade.However, I actually know a hereditary Marin ranching family and they are far from the oligarchs you describe..My Q to you is how you and your cohort are going to find a way to move beyond the outrage and polemics and find a way to actually preserve the seashore in a world that is economically fragile, too. That's why I brought up Africa and would be interested in your response. Thanks
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    Last edited by Barry; 05-26-2020 at 10:45 AM.
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  10. TopTop #6

    Re: Point Reyes National Seashore needs our help

    The efforts to restore PRNS are not , as you say, the actions of one person and their cohort. There are a great many citizens wanting the ranchers out of their national seashore. This is way overdue. The time to act is now.
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  12. TopTop #7
    rossmen
     

    Re: Point Reyes National Seashore needs our help

    These are local ranchers who agreed to the park designation expecting they would have the right to continue ranching. Is anything I'm writing not true?
    Last edited by Barry; 05-26-2020 at 10:46 AM.
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  14. TopTop #8
    rossmen
     

    Re: Point Reyes National Seashore needs our help

    Research your own propaganda. So cattle shit in their fields. This is a good thing. Destroy local agriculture and beef eaters will buy from far away feedlots including third world rainforest denuded lands. So west Marin county ranchers contribute to community? Why is this a legitimate critique?
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    Last edited by Barry; 05-26-2020 at 10:47 AM.
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  16. TopTop #9
    rossmen
     

    Re: Point Reyes National Seashore needs our help

    This is a public debate. And you take it to soco. So what's the difference between one person and their cohort and a great many citizens? Its our national seashore, who am I to disagree with you? Them?

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  18. TopTop #10
    rossmen
     

    Re: Point Reyes National Seashore needs our help

    Its a local fight and far from ridiculous. How do we define a public good? Do local ranchers raising sustainable beef, despite your beef, have a say in creating public land? You write no, flush history. I write yes, this is how we create a better future. Human history starts when? How about domestication of animals. You know the transition from Hunter gatherer to herder? I guess you’re really into agriculture but then there's been like a 20k overlap. Let's take the local coastal lands as an example. The Russians couldn't even grow potatoes there. To many gophers. The Spanish knew beef. Are you Spanish or Russian? Have I lost you yet?
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    Last edited by Barry; 05-26-2020 at 10:47 AM.
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  20. TopTop #11
    gypsey's Avatar
    gypsey
     

    Re: Point Reyes National Seashore needs our help

    Actually I dd not imply that these were the actions of one person. A cohort is usually a large group of people.
    I asked for information and was supportive.
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  21. TopTop #12
    sealwatcher's Avatar
    sealwatcher
    Supporting member

    Re: Point Reyes National Seashore needs our help

    Perhaps I'm mistaken but I thought the leases were for 25 years not to be renewed. NPS had in mind phasing out the cattle.

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  23. TopTop #13
    Cynthia Poten's Avatar
    Cynthia Poten
     

    Re: Point Reyes National Seashore needs our help

    Apparently lease renewals are at NPS discretion. According to experts, ranching is seriously interfering the wildlife and natural values of Point Reyes, which are being seriously undermined and which NPS is mandated to defend. These links explain:

    https://www.sfchronicle.com/environment/article/At-Point-Reyes-the-contest-is-elk-vs-15203706.php

    https://www.ptreyeslight.com/article...carbon-banking

    https://jimcoda.com/2019/04/22/the-big-lie-point-reyes-national-seashore-and-ranching/

    https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/...r-13381520.php

    https://www.sfchronicle.com/environm...p-14291769.php

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  25. TopTop #14

    Re: Point Reyes National Seashore needs our help

    Add Skylar's film ,THE SHAME OF POINT REYES, to the list to be more informed about this issue. Apparently those 24 ranches on National Park Land pay 50% of the cost to have their cattle there. Why do they get the advantage over other ranches? Let's act now to restore our National Park. 91.4% of the public want the ranches out of our National Seashore. Write some letters or offer up some assistance to For Elk.org.
    Last edited by Barry; 05-28-2020 at 12:29 PM.
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  27. TopTop #15
    geomancer's Avatar
    geomancer
     

    Re: Point Reyes National Seashore needs our help

    10 years after grazing ends, the expansive grass pastures will become Coyote Bush thickets. No more easy strolling across the meadows.
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  29. TopTop #16
    rossmen
     

    Re: Point Reyes National Seashore needs our help

    Idk, perhaps the leases were up for renewal after 25 years? Hasn't this time passed? Perhaps our opinion on this question mostly relates to our chosen diet? Cattle ranching on the sonoma marin coast is one of the more sustainable meat production strategies in the world. And time has proven that it integrates well with a national park. Personally I'd rather eat the elk. They do well there too.

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  30. TopTop #17
    geomancer's Avatar
    geomancer
     

    Re: Point Reyes National Seashore needs our help

    The "cattle" in question are dairy cows. West Marin needs a critical mass of dairy cows to sustain the creameries, otherwise much of the grazing land will be converted to other uses: maybe meat or McMansions?
    Last edited by Barry; 05-29-2020 at 11:46 AM.
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  31. TopTop #18
    SunnysideUP's Avatar
    SunnysideUP
     

    Re: Point Reyes National Seashore needs our help

    Yes, indeed the time has passed and the ranchers are still there. That was all explained in my previous thread. These ranchers are on leases, they do not own the land because they sold their properties.

    As for this being a question of diet, it is not at all. Perhaps some would prefer to eat endangered animals (Tule Elk are only about 1% of their original number) but that is also not the question. The real question is does ranching meet the requirements set forth in the creation of this national seashore.

    This is the least factual statement as yet:
    "Cattle ranching on the sonoma marin coast is one of the more sustainable meat production strategies in the world. And time has proven that it integrates well with a national park."

    The 6000 cattle dairy (yes, dairy) and beef ranches on Pt. Reyes have been allowed to expand their activities which already pollute the water shed and beaches, destroy the natural habitat, kill off the wildlife, and are the #1 cause of carbon emissions in the locality through methane and industrial emissions.

    Private ranching on 28,000 acres at Point Reyes National Seashore and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area is heavily subsidized by taxpayers. Adverse 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, habitat conflicts with wildlife, loss of public access to public land, greenhouse gas emissions. 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 the park land that is leased for cattle grazing, and they are dying of thirst.

    Now, ranchers at the national seashore are pushing to “diversify” their operations. They intend to add more livestock, including sheep, goats, and chickens, grow row crops, open for resorts and more. This move is antithetical to the historical purpose of our national parks and will further destroy the natural environment of Point Reyes.

    Someone expressed concern over how much more difficult it would be to walk through a native habitat filled with native Coyote Bush. Perhaps one day that will be true and if we're fortunate enough to have that happen, I personally will not miss walking on the expanse of non-native golf course-like grass with zero wildlife in sight.

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by rossmen: View Post
    There are only about 530 Tule elk at Point Reyes (according to the NPS) and the amount of cattle is over 6,000! The cattle (as you have seen from the videos - including The Shame of Point Reyes, etc) are doing the damage to the landscape not the Tule Elk! The landscape is heavily overgrazed by the cattle and that is why they bring in extra feed for the cattle.
    Last edited by Barry; 05-30-2020 at 09:39 AM.
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  33. TopTop #19

    Re: Point Reyes National Seashore needs our help

    So well done, eye opening and heart-breaking. And beautiful. Makes me want to go out and do something to get the cattle ranches off the land. Esp. awful that the government is saying it's okay to kill off the few tule elk that remain while allowing the cows to stay. Nuts. Lilith
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  35. TopTop #20
    luke32
     

    Re: Point Reyes National Seashore needs our help

    Here is a , seemingly, balanced look at the situation. There is not an easy answer.



    ON THE CALIFORNIA COAST IT'S CATTLE VERSUS ELK
    by James Steinbauer October 7, 2019 from sierra, a magazine of the sierra club

    Point Reyes National Seashore is once again ground zero for an emotional debate over the purpose of America’s national parks. Should the parks’ mission be to preserve wildlife or conserve history? Should they be set aside as wilderness or tended as a human landscape? How can land managers balance the not always reconcilable needs of wildlife and domesticated livestock?

    In 2012, wildness won out when the National Park Service chose not to renew the lease for an oyster farm situated in an estuary long designated as “potential wilderness.” The debate leading up to that decision tore apart the tiny Northern California communities surrounding the park, as friends and neighbors were split over whether to let the oyster farm continue doing business or to remove the aquaculture operation. Signs pleading “Save Our Drakes Bay Oyster Farm” had only recently come down when, a few years ago, another debate over the future of the seashore emerged. Near the seashore’s misty headlands, a herd of free-roaming tule elk moved onto ranchland. There, the elk have barreled through range fencing, eaten livestock feed, and, according to one rancher, gored cattle. A new battle line was drawn: elk versus cows.

    A little more than an hour’s drive north of San Francisco, Point Reyes is Northern California distilled: coastal mountains forested in Douglas fir catch the fog, rolling grasslands bloom with wildflowers, and white sandstone cliffs fall into the Pacific. It is also one of a small percentage of sites in the national park system that allow cattle grazing within its boundaries. In the 1960s, after a campaign led by the Sierra Club spurred the government to preserve Point Reyes, the Park Service bought the seashore piece by piece from the cattle ranchers and dairy families who lived there, under an agreement that they could rent the land they had sold and continue ranching. In the 1980s, some 33,000 acres of the seashore were designated federal wilderness. Yet the seashore’s pastoral and wilderness zones haven’t always coexisted peaceably; while some wilderness advocates say ranching is incompatible with the park’s purposes, ranchers and dairies are often inconvenienced by the challenges of ranching with the wild.

    In August, the Park Service released the first draft of an updated management plan with a “preferred alternative” intended to appease both sides of the wildness vs. pastoralism and elk vs. cow debates. The proposed management plan, however, appears to have pleased no one and instead has only fueled the disagreement.

    The NPS plan proposes shooting up to 15 elk each year to keep the population of the elk herd at 120, the highest number of elk Park Service ecologists say could share forage with existing cattle. David Press, a wildlife biologist for the National Park Service, said the elk can’t be transferred out of the seashore because they are infected with Johne’s Disease, an incurable wasting disease that both elk and cattle are susceptible to. (In the 1970s, scientists determined the disease likely spread to the elk from cattle.) But that idea has left some wildlife advocates fuming. Jeff Miller, a senior conservation advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity, called the plan to shoot the elk “pure insanity.”

    Continues here

    Last edited by Barry; 05-31-2020 at 09:07 AM.
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  37. TopTop #21
    rossmen
     

    Re: Point Reyes National Seashore needs our help

    I tried watching the video. As soon as he claimed to not know what veal crates are I stopped, stupid propaganda. You can dismiss my estimation of local cattle ranches, and this is a worthy debate. I'm not sure you are willing to. Your mind seems made. The truth is that these questions will be answered in a public political debate mediated by the park service and your voice will count more than mine because I'm still thinking about it. I guess this makes you happy?

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    Last edited by Barry; 05-31-2020 at 09:53 AM.
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  38. TopTop #22
    SunnysideUP's Avatar
    SunnysideUP
     

    Re: Point Reyes National Seashore needs our help

    I am taken aback and honestly surprised at your reply. It is ironic because I feel the same way in that I feel my voice will not count. Where does that leave us? I suppose we are victims of the division increasing in this world and no, that does not make me happy.

    I'm also surprised that you don't realize the majority of folks that I know genuinely do not know what a veal crate looks like or even what makes 'veal.' That is how removed we are from our food sources these days. I'm guessing you grew up near ranches or perhaps you're a rancher yourself. The truth is that most Americans live in cities and never see or comprehend where their food comes from. I didn't. As a girl growing up in Denver I thought veal was just something people ate in fancy restaurants. and after moving to this area I still didn't know what those white little crates were for.

    But again, the focus of this argument for me is whether or not any enterprise that is for private gain should be allowed in a national park. Our national parks were created as sanctuaries, remnants of wilderness reserved for nature to be left alone while we develop and deplete every other acre of land. If we do not hold the line here, I'm truly afraid it will be lost forever. If we can save some of it - any and every little bit - that would make me happy.

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    Last edited by Barry; 06-01-2020 at 01:11 PM.
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