Monday, March 14, 2016

The End of Agriculture at Point Reyes National Seashore: The Jarvis Playbook

by Corey S. Goodman

What makes a national park? Some were fashioned, by the likes of Teddy Roosevelt, out of what was romanticized as the Wild West. Others were created in partnership with those who have been the historic stewards of the land. The Point Reyes National Seashore, just north of San Francisco, is the latter: a national seashore created out of historic farm and ranch land, preserved by its farmers and ranchers for more than a century, to protect and promote the farming and ranching heritage of the land, and to keep it from turning into urban sprawl, golf courses, and gated communities.

But the seashore is under dire threat. A few weeks ago, the Center for Biological Diversity and other environmental groups sued the National Park Service with the intent to clear the eleven remaining ranches out of Point Reyes National Seashore (of the nineteen that existed when PRNS was created), with clear implications for the eight remaining ranches in adjoining Golden Gate National Recreation Area (of the fifteen that existed when GGNRA was created).

The ranchers have a right to feel their days are numbered. After all, the continuation of their ranches was part of the deal when these parks were created. The basic problem for these ranchers, however, is that the director of the National Park Service, Jon Jarvis, agrees with these environmental groups that agriculture does not belong in a national park.

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