Field Notes from Point Reyes National Seashore

“The new protected area was unlike any other national park before — or since. Point Reyes ranchers and dairymen had been opposed to the park, so Congress crafted a compromise to allow them to stay. The federal government would buy out the farmers and then lease the land back to them so they could continue their agricultural traditions. Point Reyes National Seashore would strike a balance between recreation, wilderness preservation, and pastoral land use.

This arrangement continues today. More than two million people visit the park every year. What they find there is an eclectic landscape of fog-shrouded and moss-hung forests, pristine beaches, wind-swept dunes, tidal estuaries … and miles of open rangeland grazed by cows and some chickens. While the park’s northern and southern sections at Tomales Point and Inverness Ridge are designated as wilderness, the interior of park (about one third of the park’s 71,000 acres) is what’s called the “pastoral zone.” It is a working landscape of (mostly organic) dairies and ranches that supply milk, butter, and meat to Northern Californians.” : (Here)

3572310416_df35511f31_z