Submit your comments by Tue., Nov. 29. Support Alternative A–”no action”.Comment on-line at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=333&projectID=33043&documentID=43390. You may also mail or hand-deliver comments to:
There will also be public meetings at which you can support wilderness and comment:
Tuesday, October 18, 6 – 8 pm
Wednesday, October 19, 6 – 8 pm
Thursday, October 20, 6 – 8 pm
Update (June 27, 2002): see also an extensive article in the June 27 East Bay Express.
Will Drakes Estero in Point Reyes National Seashore become wilderness as Congress has instructed, or will it continue to house a commercial operation (see September-October 2010, page 4)?
The site was designated as future wilderness by the Point Reyes Wilderness Act in 1976. The wilderness designation was scheduled to take effect in November 2012, when the existing commercial oyster-farming lease expires. The current leaseholder, though, has asked for a new lease, and the National Park Service has issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on this proposal. The EIS explores four alternatives, but expresses no preference among them. The Sierra Club strongly supports Alternative A (“no action”), the only one that will allow the lease to expire and Drakes Estero to become part of the existing Phillip Burton Wilderness as the law states. To extend the operation of a business on lands that Congress has designated to become wilderness would set a threatening precedent for the entire federal wilderness system from coast to coast.
Drakes Estero would be the only estuary along the West Coast designated as wilderness. The Estero and its watershed are home to several endangered plants and animals, and serve as important bird habitat. The Estero also contains an extremely important harbor-seal population.
The Phillip Burton Wilderness at Point Reyes is the closest wilderness to the San Francisco Bay Area.
The commercial concessionaire of the oyster farm bought the lease six years ago with full knowledge of the lease expiration.
Alan Carlton, chair, Sierra Club California/Nevada Conservation Committee