Point Reyes National Seashore's
Ranch Comprehensive Management Plan

In spring 2014, the NPS began a Ranch Comprehensive Management Plan to address the management of the approximately 28,000 acres of active beef and dairy ranching on NPS lands in Point Reyes and the north district of Golden Gate. This included ranch lease duration, succession, operational flexibility, and diversification. The planning effort also addressed concerns related to the expansion of free-range tule elk on park lands under agricultural lease/permits.

In February 2016, litigation was brought against the NPS related to the ranch planning process and the ongoing use of lands in the planning area for ranching and dairying. The plaintiffs and the NPS, together with the ranchers and the County of Marin, entered into settlement negotiations. The court approved a multi-party Settlement Agreement on July 14, 2017. Per the Settlement Agreement, the NPS agreed that in lieu of a Ranch Comprehensive Management Plan, it would prepare a GMP Amendment and EIS addressing the management of the lands currently leased for ranching in Point Reyes and the north district of Golden Gate.

Click here to be routed to EAC's webpage about the General Management Plan

Note: The Ranch Comprehensive Management Plan page is archival information on the Ranch Comprehensive Management Plan and EAC's position statements in 2016.

EAC supports the extension of 20-year operating permits for multi-generational sustainable ranching that ensures the protection, restoration, and preservation of the natural environment of the Seashore leaving it unimpaired for future generations.
— Morgan Patton, EAC executive director

For over 45-years, EAC has addressed the important environmental issues that face our community and public lands.  We have worked on community development and public access to parks and coastal areas, supported pathways for ecologically sustainable agriculture, promoted affordable housing development, protected wildlife, supported strong coastal protections, provided environmental education, and protected Tomales Bay and West Marin’s watersheds.

Many of the environmental resources of West Marin are located within the Point Reyes National Seashore.  Since 1971, EAC has been involved in several of the Seashore’s environmental issues.  The Seashore is composed of 71,000 acres that make up the Seashore is divided into several different types of public uses. The primary land uses include 33,000 acres of wilderness lands and 21,000 acres of pastoral lands.

From 2005 until 2014, EAC worked diligently to ensure Drakes Estero’s wilderness designation.  In November 2012, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar directed the National Park Service to allow the permit for the Drakes Bay Oyster Company to expire on its own terms and return Drakes Estero to the state of wilderness that Congress designated for it in 1976.  At the same time, he directed the National Park Service to pursue extending the terms of agriculture permits to provide greater certainty and clarity for the ranches operating within the national park’s pastoral zone and to support the continued presence of sustainable ranching and dairy operations.


eac's rcmp guiding PRINCIPLES

Protection and preservation of natural resources

Restoration of degraded habitats and natural resources

Public access



Point Reyes National Seashore’s Ranch Comprehensive Management Plan (RCMP) was initiated due to the 2012 multi-part decision of former Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar. Based on EAC’s support of Secretary Salazar’s decision, EAC initiated community discussions with some dairy ranchers and the environmental community in 2014. EAC participated in these discussions as an advocate for the environmental resources of the Seashore committed to the protection, restoration, and preservation of the natural environment.


The Seashore is working to establish a comprehensive framework for the management of the existing ranch lands under agricultural leases with terms of up to 20 years. The Seashore defines the needs for the development of a RCMP to:

  • Provide a clear vision for ranching on existing ranch lands

  • Address concerns related to elk and existing ranch operations

  • Provide clear guidance and streamline processes for park and regulatory review of proposed ranching activities, including best management practices that promote protection of park resources.


The Seashore defined a series of topics for public discussion and comment while working on the development of the Draft RCMP.

  • Tule Elk Management

  • Pasture Management

  • Range Conditions

  • Succession

  • Diversification

Point Reyes National Seashore. Ranch Comprehensive Management Plan Update, Tule Elk Workshop, November 2014

commitment to the rcmp

Since 2014, EAC has been engaged in the Seashore’s RCMP community planning process. The RCMP provides an opportunity for the community and Point Reyes National Seashore to create a framework for the protection of the Seashore’s natural resources and the management of multi-generational sustainable ranching operations in the pastoral lands.

Information on the status of the RCMP is available online through the National Park Service.

Click Here for the KQED Science Podcast with Snippet from EAC Executive Director Morgan Patton

Click Here for the
KQED Science Podcast with Snippet from EAC Executive Director Morgan Patton