Oyster Farm Evicted from Point Reyes, California

U.S. District Court cases on behalf of Drakes Bay Oyster Co. near Inverness in Marin County reached the end of the road October 6, 2014. Their final request for an injunction against the National Park Service had been declined by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, and the two parties issued a statement of legal settlement requiring the commercial oyster facility to be vacated by December 31.

Drakes Bay is part of the outer shoreline of Point Reyes. Sir Francis Drake sought refuge there in 1579 on Golden Hind during his voyage circumnavigating Earth -- hence the name.

The 1100-acre property which Drakes Bay Oyster Co. began closing in the third quarter of last year was first leased from the U.S. government in 1932. The lease was renewed in 1972, and its 40-year term expired in 2012. Drakes Bay Oyster Co. had bought the oyster-raising and harvesting business from Johnson's Oyster Farm with less than eight years remaining on the lease.

The U.S. Congress had designated the entire Point Reyes as a National Seashore in 1976 and indicated it would become part of the National Wilderness managed by the National Park Service.

The Secretary of the Interior in 2012, Ken Salazar, denied Drakes Bay Oyster Co.'s application for a lease renewal on the basis that a commercial oystering business is inconsistent with the aims of the wilderness designation.

Just about everyone agrees that Point Reyes is a national treasure. It preserves amazing landscapes and beaches. The area supports a healthy variety of birds and marine wildlife. The contested issues seem to have been whether closing down the sustainable food enterprise operated by the Lunny family is actually in the best interests of California residents, and whether the due process of encouraging participation by the appropriate state agencies concerning decisions such as the non-renewal of the lease to Drakes Bay Oyster Co. has been correctly followed.

Link to Further Information

Numerous articles have appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle and been archived during the two-year legal battle endured by Drakes Bay Oyster Co. The link below pertains to one of the more recent articles which included five photographs.

Egelko, Bob. Suit to keep Drakes Bay Oyster Co. open suffers setback. San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 9, 2014.

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