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08
Sep

Rally to Restore Point Reyes National Seashore Set for Sunday, September 12th 2021

For Immediate Release, September 8, 2021

Contact:
Scott Webb, Turtle Island Restoration Network, swebb@seaturtles.org, 707-921-8211
Chance Cutrano, Resource Renewal Institute, ccutrano@rri.org, 312-403-3702
Laura Cunningham, Western Watersheds Project, lcunningham@westernwatersheds.org, 775-513-1280
Jack Gescheidt, In Defense of Animals, jack@treespiritproject.com, 415-948-0057

 

Rally to Restore Point Reyes National Seashore Set for Sunday
National Park Threatened by Private Ranching Operations

POINT REYES STATION, Calif.—On Sunday, September 12, park advocates will rally at Point Reyes National Seashore in anticipation of a decision by the Department of the Interior that will determine the future of the national park for decades to come.

Final approval of the controversial plan to allow ranching to continue on 28,000 acres of these federal parklands is expected on September 13, the 59th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s signing of the legislation that established the only national seashore on the Pacific Coast.

If approved—as originally proposed under the Trump administration—by the Secretary of the Interior, the National Park Service’s (NPS) General Management Plan Amendment (GMPA) for Point Reyes National Seashore would extend leases to two dozen commercial beef and dairy operations until 2042; expand livestock operations; allow ranchers to grow commercial crops; and kill native Tule elk to ensure sufficient grass for the approximately 5,600 private beef and dairy cattle in the park.

“This is an ongoing giveaway to a few politically connected individuals whose industrial-scale greenhouse-gas emitting cattle operations do not belong in our national park. As climate change continues to alter our world, we will be holding the NPS accountable,” says Chance Cutrano, Director of Programs at the Resource Renewal Institute, an organizer of the rally along with Western Watersheds Project, Turtle Island Restoration Network, and In Defense of Animals. They are among more than 100 organizations nationwide that publicly oppose the National Park Service plan for continued ranching at the Seashore.

Speakers at the rally include Theresa Harlan, whose family lived in the Seashore for generations and is advocating for the restoration of the family’s Coast Miwok home in Point Reyes National Seashore. Also speaking is Ken Brower, renowned environmental author, whose father David Brower, the first Executive Director of the Sierra Club, advocated for the creation of the Seashore and witnessed President Kennedy’s signing of the founding legislation in the Oval Office in 1962.

Ranching at Point Reyes arrived with the Gold Rush and has been ongoing at the National Seashore since Congress established it on September 13, 1962. The National Park Service bought the land from ranching families and allowed them to temporarily lease back the land to ease their transition from the newly established park. Approximately 5,600 cattle still graze, degrade and pollute the land and waterways in the park today.

The highly contested plan follows a lawsuit the Resource Renewal Institute (RRI), Center for Biological Diversity and Western Watershed Project brought against the National Park Service in 2016 over its outdated management plan permitting ranching without environmental review, which is required under the National Environmental Policy Act. A settlement agreement initially gave the Park Service until July 14, 2021, to produce an amended management plan and Environmental Impact Statement for ranching.

Ranchers have continually lobbied for permanence at the Seashore and their demands for long-term, non-competitive leases, more livestock and diversified ranching activities are reflected in the Park Service’s plan.

Record drought, the deaths of hundreds of rare native Tule elk—a species found in no other national park—and recent revelations of unchecked water pollution from the cattle manure ranchers have stoked long-simmering public opposition.

“We find it unconscionable that the beef and dairy ranches inside Point Reyes, which are its largest source of soil degradation and pollution, groundwater contamination and greenhouse gas (methane) emissions, as well as being responsible for mistreatment of wild elk, would be allowed to remain operational, let alone given 20-year lease extensions,” said Jack Gescheidt, of In Defense of Animals.

Thousands of concerned individuals including tribal members, scientists, park users, animal rights and environmental justice advocates have written and testified in opposition to ranching during the protracted planning process and continue to send letters, sign petitions and stage protests.

“This is a call to the Department of the Interior and our elected officials to stand up for the ideals which they say they represent. It’s time for our country to end the subsidization of unsustainable practices that pollute our waters, cause a decline in biodiversity, and exacerbate climate change,” said Scott Webb, Advocacy and Policy Manager with Turtle Island Restoration Network.

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MEDIA ADVISORY

What: Outdoor rally to end ranching and restore Point Reyes National Seashore. Please note: Social distancing and COVID-19 precautions must be respected.

When: Sunday, September 12, 11 a.m.

Where: Bear Valley Visitor Center (1 Bear Valley Visitor Center Access Road, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956)

Who:  Speakers include Theresa Harlan, who is advocating for the restoration of her family’s Coast Miwok home at the Seashore and the addition of Native American sites at the Seashore to the National Register of Historic Places; and Ken Brower, the environmental writer whose father David Brower was instrumental in the creation of the Seashore.

This rally is organized by the Resource Renewal Institute, Western Watershed Project, Turtle Island Restoration Network, and In Defense of Animals. For more information and to RSVP visit

www.tinyurl.com/turning59

Resource Renewal Institute (RRI) is a 38-year old nonprofit environmental organization based in Fairfax, California on a mission to disrupt the Anthropocene by advancing science-driven tools that strengthen climate resilience and safeguard biodiversity for the benefit of all people.

Turtle Island Restoration Network (TIRN) is a global ocean conservation nonprofit based in Olema, California whose mission is to inspire and mobilize people around the world to protect marine biodiversity and the oceans that sustain all life on Earth.

Western Watersheds Project (WWP) is a nonprofit environmental conservation group working to protect and restore wildlife and watersheds throughout the West, with a primary focus on the negative impacts of livestock grazing on 250 million acres of western public lands.

In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization based in Marin with over 250,000 supporters and a 38-year history of protecting animals, people, and the environment through education and campaigns, as well as hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi.

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