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Drakes Bay Oyster Co. Seeks TRO To Keep Point Reyes National Seashore Oyster Farm In Business

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Politics stalked the national park system throughout 2007. From snowmobiles in Yellowstone to off-road vehicles in Big Cypress, it seemed natural resources and careful stewardship were trumped too often.

We heard both National Park Service Director Mary Bomar and Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne promise that science and careful stewardship would rule the national parks, and yet it seemed those promises fell short.

Not all the news surrounding the parks was negative, though. Congress approved President Bush's hefty funding increase for the parks, the National Park Foundation held a summit to explore partnership and philanthropy in the parks, and the Centennial Challenge was launched.

That said, here's a look at some of the top stories that rippled across the national park system in 2007:

  • Yellowstone snowmobiles. Despite scientific reports that detailed how snow coaches were the best alternative for Yellowstone's environment, wildlife, employees and visitors, park Superintendent Suzanne Lewis approved a plan to allow as many as 540 snowmobiles per day into Yellowstone. That decision, which conservation groups have promised to test in court, could have consequences far beyond Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks as I noted back in November.

    Rick Smith, of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, speaks of decision (1:00)
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  • Fran Mainella points finger at Interior Department. A year after leaving her job as director of the National Park Service, Fran Mainella told the Traveler that Interior Department officials, not her office, called the shots on allowing snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park.

    Fran Mainella talks to the 'Traveler' (4:34)
    Get the Flash Player to see hear the audio.

  • Jet skis. Conservation groups asked the Park Service to reinstate bans against personal watercraft in Gulf Islands and Cape Lookout national seashores as well as Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. If the agency balks, the groups say they'll take it to court over the matter.

  • ORVs in Big Cypress National Preserve. A decision by Big Cypress Superintendent Karen Gustin to reopen 20 miles of off-road vehicle routes was greeted by a lawsuit just before Christmas when a coalition of groups filed a lawsuit to overturn that decision.

  • Katmai Bear Hunt. A groundswell of public outrage greeted the annual hunt of brown bears in Katmai National Preserve. Though hunting technically is allowed in the preserve, the seeming habituation of bears to humans created the impression that the bear hunt was akin to "shooting fish in a barrel" and prompted calls for the Park Service to end the hunt. Watch Video

  • Park Service budget. President Bush proposed, and Congress approved, a hefty funding increase for the National Park Service. True, the $2.39 billion FY08 budget cannibalizes some sections of the agency's budget so its base operations funding will rise $153.4 million. But an increase is an increase.

  • Centennial Challenge. In his fiscal 2008 budget request, President Bush proposed a Centennial Challenge with visions of infusing $3 billion, in a mix of public and private funding, into the park system as the National Park Service moves towards its centennial in 2016. Though controversial on several fronts, and falling short of his 2000 campaign promise to spend $5 billion to wipe out the Park Service's maintenance backlog, the initiative gained congressional approval, though not exactly as the president requested it.

    Kempthorne Announces Centennial Projects; Podcast (10:50)
    Get the Flash Player to see hear the audio.

  • National Park Foundation Leadership Summit on Partnership and Philanthropy. Private philanthropy long has played a crucial role in the construction and health of the national park system. To explore how philanthropy and partnerships can bolster the parks as they head to the National Park Service's centennial in 2016, the National Park Foundation in October convened a summit in Austin, Texas, to examine the possibilities.

    NPS Director Mary Bomar addresses Leadership Summit (1:45)
    Get the Flash Player to hear this audio.

  • The Demise of the National Parks Pass. This much-loved $50 pass, which got its holder into as many parks as they wanted for a year, died on January 1 when the $80 America the Beautiful Pass came to be. However, congressional efforts towards the end of 2007 could spur the return of the National Parks Pass.

  • Climate Change. In a telling report, the Government Accountability Office said the Interior Department has failed to provide the National Park Service with the tools it needs to cope with climate change and its impacts on the national park system.

Comments

Again, I'm not sure how he can go ahead with the designation just yet. The oyster racks are still there and 90 days was given to vacate. They don't magically disappear just because this was published.

I've also noted that there is an argument that the State of California still reserves the right to shellfish farming in Drakes Estero. The Director of California Fish and Game wrote a letter to the Pt Reyes Superintendent indicating this uncertainty. If the oyster farm has any argument that may have legs, that would seem to be the strongest.

http://www.eenews.net/assets/2012/10/23/document_gw_03.pdf

That uncertainty is apparent in the complaint by the attorneys representing the oyster farm. I'm going to find out what happened at the California Fish and Game Commission meeting tonight. Not sure when the archives are up, but they should be easier to follow than live video.


Again, I'm not sure how he can go ahead with the designation just yet. The oyster racks are still there and 90 days was given to vacate. They don't magically disappear just because this was published.

I think it means that the area has now been given the designation, even if the area doesn't yet comply with that designation.


Does anyone know Diane Feinstein's address?? I want her to help me apply for a Bison ranching operation in Yellowstone-- all the Bison dung generated will enhance the landscape just like the oyster "splat" is helping the estuary.


It says "all uses prohibited" have ceased as of November 30. That can't be true. The oyster racks are still there. If they want to have the oyster racks removed, it's going to take motorized boats to effectively do it. He's claiming that the oyster farm is gone, and that clearly isn't the case.


In this context, "designated wilderness" seems to be a prescriptive, not descriptive, term.


gutz54

Does anyone know Diane Feinstein's address?? I want her to help me apply for a Bison ranching operation in Yellowstone-- all the Bison dung generated will enhance the landscape just like the oyster "splat" is helping the estuary.

The oyster farm predates the establishment of Point Reyes NS by decades. The oyster farm land wasn't even part of the original park, and was likely obtained from Charlie Johnson under the threat of eminent domain.

Heck - the cattle and dairy ranches create a considerably worse impact than the oyster farm on the health of Drakes Estero. Secretary Salazar even went so far as to encourage that their special use permits be valid for 20 years compared to their current 10 years.


It would seem to go against the proper procedure. Once all nonconforming uses cease, that fact can be published in the Federal Register. Those uses haven't ceased. Cart is before the horse.


Wouldn't that be the case for an area that is under consideration by Congress for wilderness designation? If so, then wouldn't the question be whether the oyster farm is inside/outside an area already designated as wilderness when the lease expired?


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