Indigenous leaders and local advocates have appealed to NPS to follow Congress’ intent to allow the area to return to its natural state after legacy leases expire. The NPS’ preferred alternative will extend ranch leases in the park for another 20 years, despite the fact that livestock production in the park was never intended to be long-term. Implementing this plan would entrench the damage done to the climate, wildlife and coastal ecosystem and undermine the purpose of the park’s establishment to increase the accessibility and relevance of our national parks for people of color and underserved communities.
NPS’ plan represents a continued failure to recognize the historical injustices experienced by indigenous people in the area, such as the Coast Miwok, who inhabited that land for 10,000 years prior to being forced off the land by ranchers.
Maite Arce, President and CEO of the Hispanic Access Foundation, released the following statement:
“We strongly urge Secretary Haaland and the National Park Service to postpone this decision, which will lock the historic Point Reyes National Seashore into 20 more years of exploitation by ranching interests and leave another generation without a full appreciation for the park. This is an opportunity to live up to the Biden Administration’s values by breaking the cycle of environmental injustice and systemic racism, which has plagued Point Reyes National Seashore since its inception.
Theresa Harlan, Advocate for Indigenous Access to Homelands on Public Lands released the following statement:
“The ranching that goes on at Point Reyes is not only environmentally destructive, it continues the erasure of Indigenous heritage. The Coast Miwok’s 10,000-year history in the area can provide a place for descendants to honor our ancestors and an educational enrichment experience for all visitors to enjoy and appreciate the land as Coast Miwok people and indigenous peoples do. But today, both groups are prohibited from a large swath of the land so ranchers can treat it as a machine to be run, as opposed to a place that should be respected and enjoyed by all.
“This needs to stop and today Secretary Haaland has the means to do so. We ask Secretary Haaland to step in, postpone the decision, and begin the process of returning the land back to nature for all to enjoy rather than for a few to exploit.”