1976 Senate Hearings on the Point Reyes Wilderness legislation 1975 & 1976

PRNS wilderness hearings senate 1976

Above, is the link to the Senate Hearings on the Point Reyes Wilderness Legislation in 1975 and 1976.

In it you will find letters of support for continuation of the oyster farm from the following:

page 356

  •  Jerry Friedman

    • Representative of :


      • Marin Conservation League

      • Tomales Bay Association

      • Inverness Association

      • League of Women Voters

      • Bay Area Organizations:

        • Environmental Forum, Marin & Sonoma branches

        • Assemblyman Michael Wornum

    • Chairman of the Marin County Planning Commission

    • Representative of Congressman John Burton on all matters relevant to the House counterpart of S. 2472 H.R. 8003

    • Resident of West Marin

(continued at the top of page 357:)

” These organizations not only support S. 2472, but they wholeheartedly endorse the wilderness recommendations of the GGNRA Citizens Advisory Commission….”

“3. All the organizations have deep and serious concerns over the lack of protection presently afforded to the tidal zone at Point Reyes. Such areas as Drake’s and Limantour Estero along with the seal rookery at Double Point deserve wilderness status. The State’s interests in these areas has been minimal with the exception of Limantour Estero which is a Research Natural Area, and we note little activity by the State in the area of patrol or marine resource monitoring during the past years. We accordingly hope that the tidal zone will be managed as wilderness area and we find this approach consistent with the State’s reservation of fishing and mineral rights. We wish to note the following points in this regard:

A.  S.  2472 would allow the continued use and operation of Johnson’s Oyster Company in Drake’s Estero.”

E.  We note nothing in the law which precludes the Congress from designating the tidal zone as wilderness despite the reservation of fishing and mineral rights….”

Page 358:

“….It is rare that so many organizations have agreed upon wilderness legislation for a given area. It is also unusual that such wilderness status DOES NOT IN ANY WAY INTERFERE WITH THE MANNER IN WHICH THE PUBLIC PRESENTLY USES THAT PARK….”

This is followed in the record on page 358 – 361 by the following:





Statement of Frank C. Boerger,

Chairman, Golden Gate National Recreation Area Citizen’s Advisory Commission

15 person Commission appointed in January 1975 by Secretary of Interior in accordance with the law establishing the Recreation Area.

“….The balancing of the various interests represented by our recommendations was derived from a series of public hearings and subcommittee task force meetings. The compromises presented have won acceptance from representatives of each sector of the public that expressed concern….”


“….An important factor in considering wilderness for the seashore was the intent of the commission that desirable existing uses be allowed to continue…..”

“….Two wilderness units are recommended for the northern half of the Seashore. They are separated by an area that includes the “pastoral zone” (designated in the enabling legislation to continue to accommodate ranching activities) and the access roads that serve most of the Seashore’s popular beaches. The first unit includes…Drakes and Limantour Esteros, and the lands that connect those features.”


“Two activities presently carried on within the seashore existed prior to its establishment as a park and have since been considered desirable by both the public and park managers. Because they both entail use of motorized equipment, specific provision should be made in wilderness legislation to allow the following uses to continue unrestrained by wilderness designation:

1 Ranching operations on that portion of the “pastoral zone” that falls within the proposed wilderness…..

2 Operation of Johnson’s Oyster Farm including the use of motorboats and the repair and construction of oyster racks and other activities in conformance with the terms of the existing 1,000 acre lease from the State of California.”


The final bill designated Drakes Estero as only “potential wilderness”.

The Interior Department told Congress that Drakes Estero could not be full wilderness until California gave up its rights there–which it has NOT done.

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