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For-profit ranches are harming the environment in Point Reyes National Seashore (PRNS), a precious national resource owned by all of us. Point Reyes Public Advocacy is working to end this intensive livestock ranching and make all of the seashore truly open for wildlife and recreation.


The ranchers in Point Reyes sold their land for $52 million ($290 million in today’s dollars) to the US government over 50 years ago. In return, they agreed to end all agricultural activities by 2005 - almost 20 years ago. Unfortunately, the US government has continued to lease 28,000 acres of prime California Coastal Prairie - an extremely rare and endangered habitat - back to the ranchers, violating the terms and intent of the National Seashore designation, and resulting in a severely degraded landscape with polluted waterways.



Our goal is to end ranching in Point Reyes National Seashore by raising public awareness about its negative impact on the environment. Employees of the Park Service are not allowed to talk about the ranches. Park visitors won’t know about the effects of ranching unless we tell them about it. As soon as people learn more about Point Reyes, they overwhelmingly favor removing the ranches.


We want members of the public to pressure politicians and government officials, both locally and in Washington D.C. to end leasing (as originally agreed upon in 1972). Public pressure has already succeeded in delaying any final decision to renew the leases. We need to keep up that pressure and make sure that public opinion continues to be heard. PRPA is working on several fronts to make that happen.

Jack Kenney

Jack has been passionate about large mammal conservation efforts since the first of his many visits to Yellowstone National Park at age 13, and he has been an advocate for the California Tule Elk since he was 21. Jack is an avid amateur wildlife photographer – some of his photos appear on this website. He is also active in local politics and is currently running for a seat on the Board of Directors of the Marin Municipal Water District.

Why is Point Reyes Important?

President John F. Kennedy declared Point Reyes a National Seashore in 1962, one of the first two ever created, and one of only 10 in the United States. Point Reyes is the only National Seashore on the Pacific Coast, and its combination of stunning scenery and diverse wildlife and flora attracts over 2 million visitors per year. It is also part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves due to its ecological diversity.


Point Reyes is home to the rare California Tule Elk, along with bobcats, badgers, coyotes, raptors and other species. Majestic Elephant Seals visit the beaches of Point Reyes every winter to mate. National Geographic highlights Point Reyes in its new edition of “Wild Beautiful Places – Scenic Journeys Around the Globe.”  Famed San Francisco Chronicle outdoors writer Tom Stienstra once wrote that the #1 wildlife viewing experience in California was seeing the Tule Elk at Pierce Point in Point Reyes. 


According to the National Park Service, “California’s coastal prairies are the most species-rich grassland types in North America.” Today, less than 1% of the original undisturbed coastal prairie in California remains. On Point Reyes leased properties, ranching activities have driven out almost all native prairie grass.

How Ranching Harms the Environment in Point Reyes

Ranching in Point Reyes degrades the soil, drives out native plants, pollutes the waterways, harms wildlife and lessens the visitor experience by making large areas off limits to visitors and impairing the scenery. As such, ranching is completely against the original intent of the National Seashore Designation of 50 years ago. No other National Seashore has private agricultural activities within its boundaries.


The California Tule Elk population has been reduced by 99% from its original size by hunting and habitat loss, with only 5,700 remaining in the entire world. In contrast, there are 5,000 cattle grazing in Point Reyes alone! A large portion of the remaining elk in Point Reyes are confined by a fence to one area - only 3% of the entire Seashore - preventing them from moving in search of food and water.  During the recent drought, 30% of the primary elk herd died due to lack of water, while the nearby cattle were unaffected.


Similarly, the California Coastal Prairie has been reduced by 99% from its original size. Removing the ranches would add 28,000 acres of this precious endangered habitat.


The Elephant Seals on Point Reyes beaches, along with a vast array of birds and other sea life, are negatively affected by the water quality from nearby streams. Due to fecal contamination and fertilizer runoff, Point Reyes National Seashore has some of the most polluted waterways in California.

How Point Reyes Public Advocacy Makes a Difference

Our strategy is to engage the public in multiple ways and work with other local and national organizations who want to end the ranching. Our activities include the following:

What Can I Do?

Show your support for Point Reyes - Contact your elected representatives, the Department of the Interior, and the National Park Service and ask them to end ranching in PRNS.

Point Reyes is located in California

Congressional District 2.

If you live in this district, please contact Representative Jared Huffman:

Call: (415) 258-9657

Website for written comments:


If you live in California, contact your Senators:

U.S. Senator Alex Padilla

Call: (415) 981-9369

Website for written comments:

U.S. Senator Laphonza Butler:

Website for written comments:


If you live outside California, contact your U.S. Representative and Senators


Everyone Should contact:

U.S. Department of the Interior

Website for email:


National Park Service

Website for email:

What To Do


Donations to PRPA are primarily used for the printing of pamphlets, environmental research projects, and public relations expenses.


Inquiring Systems, a "fiscal sponsor” of small nonprofits, receives 8% of all donations in exchange for overhead functions including accounting, managing of funds and maintenance of PRPA’s non-profit tax status. Inquiring Systems, a 501c(3) organization established in 1978, sponsors over 75 non-profit organizations.

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