Thank you for this important and critical letter Kay Wood (“Our Own Backyard,” Letters Jan. 15) and for bringing this issue the attention needed to address the National Parks decision. It’s sadly a decision based on money to the benefit of the cattle ranchers and is shameful for California. Here’s also to Skyler Thomas for her thoughtful and critical film on raising awareness of our national lands for all.
Having hiked Pt. Reyes extensively and watched both of these films, I’ve also reached the appalling conclusion that our National Park Service has sold out our public lands to further private industry and that Jared Huffman is not only aware of this but is complicit in the fact that he’s cosponsored this deal to lengthen and extend the ranching activities. This is nothing short of a land-grab and I do not understand how self-purported “environmentally-friendly” residents of Marin County are allowing this to happen.
Further facts that cannot be disputed—all taken from public record:
• Ranching actions and activities have decimated native plants, destroyed the landscape & severely impacted 100 native plant-and-animal species listed as rare, threatened and endangered.
• Livestock are contaminating the watershed, spreading disease and placing the waters of Pt. Reyes National Seashore in the top 10 percent of U.S. locations most contaminated by feces indicated by E coli.
• Privately owned livestock are spreading exotic weeds for livestock forage, helping to further erode the native biodiversity of the park.
I believe we should reclaim this public land, let the ranchers continue their private businesses on private land as they were paid to do so many years ago and restore this place to its original purpose of preserving the natural landscape, environment and wildlife.
Pt. Reyes is the only National Seashore on the West Coast of the U.S.—it is our duty to protect and preserve it for future generations.
A deal is a deal, and these ranchers got a very good deal when they were paid for their land and given 25 years to come up with a Plan B, but they didn’t move. They should have been gone by the mid-80s, but no, they just keep asking for—and receiving—more extensions. Now they want a big extension and to expand their operations. What next—petting zoos? B&B’s?—in a national park!! Most people don’t want to see cows and chickens when they go to a national park. They much prefer to see wildlife, especially the beautiful Tule elk. Dairy is NOT expanding in this country. One reads in the paper on a regular basis how dairy farms are failing as the public is endorsing plant-based milks. It’s time for these ranchers to take their cattle and go. Jared Huffman—a former environmental law attorney—has gone to the dark side in supporting these ranches. One wonders why. Surely he doesn’t have any serious opposition in the next election. Shame on him.