Scoping opens for ranching plan

04/24/2014

Public scoping for the Point Reyes National Seashore’s dairying and ranching plan, which will guide the management of 28,000 acres of land in the park’s pastoral zone, officially began on April 21 and runs to June 2. The scoping period allows the public to offer suggestions and concerns that the park can analyze in the plan, which officials say will address tule elk, diversification of ranch land and longer, 20-year leases for ranchers proposed by the Interior Department in 2012. The Point Reyes Seashore Ranches Association has said ranchers suffer economic losses from the elk, which eat forage meant for cattle, and have asked the park to humanely return them to the wilderness area into which they were originally released in the late 1990s. The park has responded that the current management plan for the elk provides no specific direction for relocation from the pastoral zone, part of the reason they say they need a new plan. The park will hold two public meetings to draw comments: one on May 6 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Dance Palace Community Center and one on May 7 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Bay Model Visitor Center, in Sausalito. People may also offer input by visiting http://parkplanning.nps.gov/ranchcmp and clicking on “Open for Comment”; via snail mail or hand delivered and addressed to Ranch CMP, c/o Superintendent, Point Reyes National Seashore, 1 Bear Valley Road, Point Reyes Station, Calif. 94956. Seashore spokespeople anticipate the planning process will be complete by the fall of 2015.