07-09-13 Posted on Facebook page of Drakes Bay Oyster Co. by Pepperhead

“The National Park Service that is spearheading the drive against any business on the coastline (it’s not just Drake’s Bay Oysters that has to worry, friend) is a gluttonous beast without shame or regard in its driving force to remove buildings and businesses, many of which hold as much historical value as any great landmark, and are testaments to families, communities and entire geographical areas that sprouted up around them, often creating ethnic micro-states that thrived in and of themselves and evolved into some of the most productive, pride driven and culturally rich areas we have in America. The ramshackle buildings that are being torn down at an alarming rate, with no public outcry welcome, or even possible, since most of it is done behind closed doors before anyone even knows it’s happening, are as historically important to us as Ellis Island or, more locally, Angel Island. There is no doubt in my mind that the NPS would not think twice about wiping the history of both of these places off the face of the waterlines they inhabit were it not for the great public backlash they would expect from such thoughtless, needless and entirely senseless disregard for the history of our country.”

Tuesday at 5:12pm near Santa Rosa, CA · When someone says, or YOU say, “Drake’s Bay Oyster Company needs to just buck up and pull out, because they don’t belong there”, consider the fact that generations of locals have been fed, clothed, schooled and put to work by the mariculture, aquaculture, agriculture and just plain culture of businesses lining the Sonoma and Marin County coastline.

The National Park Service that is spearheading the drive against any business on the coastline (it’s not just Drake’s Bay Oysters that has to worry, friend) is a gluttonous beast without shame or regard in its driving force to remove buildings and businesses, many of which hold as much historical value as any great landmark, and are testaments to families, communities and entire geographical areas that sprouted up around them, often creating ethnic micro-states that thrived in and of themselves and evolved into some of the most productive, pride driven and culturally rich areas we have in America. The ramshackle buildings that are being torn down at an alarming rate, with no public outcry welcome, or even possible, since most of it is done behind closed doors before anyone even knows it’s happening, are as historically important to us as Ellis Island or, more locally, Angel Island. There is no doubt in my mind that the NPS would not think twice about wiping the history of both of these places off the face of the waterlines they inhabit were it not for the great public backlash they would expect from such thoughtless, needless and entirely senseless disregard for the history of our country.

So, what is the difference between those landmarks and their importance and some of the great historic landmarks in the Marin wetlands encompassing the Drake’s Estero and its environs? The various companies that provided seafood for generation upon generation in Marin and Sonoma Counties are no less important to our sense of self than those of San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf or Monterey’s Cannery Row. SF enjoys a tourist trade that will forever disallow the NPS from coming down upon its historical buildings and Cannery Row, though many of its great giants are gone, still caught the edge of the wave and surfed into immortality, but the smaller, more quaint and no less significant concerns amongst those wonderful cliffs and inlets of our coast are seen as blights on the landscape by the shortsighted and poorly run National Park Service.

Don’t take my word for it. Check this beautifully done pictorial essay on the various businesses and farms that have been swallowed up unceremoniously by the Park Service (except when it suits their selfish purpose, as in the RCA Radio transmission station’s buildings in Point Reyes, which the Service chose to keep as official Park service buildings, no doubt to save themselves money) and consider for yourself: what is the difference? Because there is none.

The essay/photo journalistic story is short and telling, in my view. Aptly named “An Evolving Landscape”, http://www.lauraalicewatt.com/#an-evolving-landscape/1  , it captures the essence of our coast, its importance to those who inhabit it and the fact that, though things come and go upon its surface, they eventually leave no trace unless we choose to bestow upon them the value of history. 

With DBOC, their specific history is deep and rich, not always the environmentally considerate one it now is, but when the Lunnys purchased it with the hope of making it not only a thriving business capable of providing the lion’s share of oysters consumed in California, they changed the way the business had been run and took it into the new age of environmentally focused, future-thinking eco friendly climate and made it not just a success, but a model. When you look at the photos of this great (short) essay, consider what possible benefit could be derived from the removal of the farm, the dislocation of thirty families who work their diligently and carefully, and consider also what political environs could pursue such a course and why they might do so. Then look again at the photos and see how the Estero has survived in spite of REAL threats, real enemies, such as Corporate America, and consider which buildings still stand and why.

If you’re like me, it may give you pause. I have been backing this cause relentlessly since its inception because I believe we need to take a stand as a society occasionally. We need to stand as one and say NO MORE! ENOUGH! This is certainly one of those cases. Stand behind the Drake’s Bay Oyster Company!!! READ the facts of who and what they are before it is too late.

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