Marin County land speculators, real estate firms, and local governments had a dream in the 1950’s. They were going to turn Pt. Reyes into one vast housing tract. Mouth-watering profits were to be made. Local tax dollars would increase proportionately. Everyone would gain.
Well, not quite.
Local ranchers saw a life style they had loved for over a century disappearing. The Sierra Club saw one of the world’s richest natural environments falling under the blades of bulldozers. The National Park Service saw it’s dream of opening the beautiful coast and forests of the area to the public being replaced by a forest of no trespassing signs.
An alliance was formed. Environmentalists and ranchers joined together with visionary local and national leaders to devise a plan that would protect the environment, allow ranchers to continue ranching, and give the National Park Service the opportunity to create one of America’s premier parks, a gift to America and the world that would last for generations. In 1962, John Kennedy signed the legislation that would create the Pt. Reyes National Seashore.
The Pierce Ranch, located out on Tomales Point, ceased operation in 1973. Three years later it became part of the park as a historic representative of the dairy ranches at Pt. Reyes that had been milking cows and shipping butter to the Bay Area since 1866.
In 1978 a herd of Tule Elk was reintroduced to the area as part of the Tomales Point Tule Elk Reserve. Native to California, Tule Elk had once roamed throughout the state in substantial numbers. By 1900 they were close to extinction. Saved by a Bakersfield rancher, over 20 protected herds are now located in California.
NEXT BLOG: North and South Beach where the Pacific Ocean crashes ashore. Here’s a final shot of the Tule Elk. One of the big guys had obviously taken an interest in me. I was hoping it wasn’t personal. –Curt