Friday, February 3, 2017

The Threat to and Future of Ranching in West Marin"

Marin Coalition Presents: Wednesday February 1, 2017

“The Threat to and Future of Ranching in West Marin"

Speakers: Chance Cutrano, Resource Renewal Institute
John Hart, Environmental Historian and Author

Just a year after Drake’s Bay oyster farm was forced to shut down at Point Reyes National Seashore, a group of environmentalists have filed a lawsuit with a bigger and potentially more explosive target: the thousands of dairy and beef cattle in the park. Many of the cattle ranches have been operated by the same families since the 1860s. The suit against the National Park Service (NPS) has been filed by  the Resource Renewal Institute of Mill Valley along with the Center for Biological Diversity and the Western Watersheds Project, based in Idaho. It claims the cattle are causing erosion, polluting waterways, harming endangered salmon and blocking public access.  Currently, the NPS is moving forward with a plan to renew for 20 years the ranchers’ leases.  The environmentalists claim the NPS is doing so without conducting adequate environmental studies. The ranchers say their operations are an integral part of our coastal history.  They note that when developers were threatening to build subdivisions on the Point Reyes Peninsula in the 1950s, local ranching families formed an alliance with the Sierra Club and other environmental groups to convince Congress and President John F. Kennedy to establish the park in 1962. Come to hear both sides of the issue from two well-versed speakers.

Chance Cutrano directs land policy initiatives, media projects, and emerging ideas at the Resource Renewal Institute (RRI), a nonprofit located in Mill Valley. His current work focuses on the management of the Point Reyes National Seashore and agro-ecology programs in the Central Valley. He studied philosophy and political science at Saint Xavier University where he analyzed bison and elk management policy in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Prior to RRI, Chance was researching food, water, and energy management policy in Vietnam, Morocco, and Bolivia. He lives in Marin, studies Sustainable Management at Presidio Graduate School, and is an ardent hiker and photographer.

John Hart is an environmental historian, who began writing on the Marin scene in 1970, at a time when the foundations for present policies—and controversies—were being laid. Four of the sixteen books he has written since relate to local landscapes. Relevant today are “An Island in Time: 50 Years of Point Reyes National Seashore” and “Farming on the Edge: Saving Family Farms in Marin County, California “. John has won the Commonwealth Club’s Medal in California, the Bay Institute’s Carla Bard Bay Education Award, the American Alpine Club’s David R. Brower Award for Outstanding Service in the Field of Conservation.  John has a BA in German and Comparative Literature from Princeton University.

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