Tule Elk Vigil/Protest in Point Reyes National Seashore

What the beautiful drive to Inverness, wildflowers are blooming everywhere and right now California is in severe drought conditions. So those flowers are about to fade for the next 5 months, as we don’t have rain these coming months. Rain only happens in the winter months typically- November through March/April.
When I arrived was so happy to see such a large group of activists. The count was over 60 of us caring people. Jack Gesheidt of Tree Spirit Project has been leading these events. This is the story; this was someone’s comment on National Parks website and was so befitting in a perfect explanation:

DYING FOR DAIRY/BURGERS. Protest/Vigil yesterday for the remaining Majestic Tule Elk at Pt. Reyes National Seashore. One of the most beautiful parks in the world now covered in livestock. The drought about to hit us hard will wipe out another 100 Elk – with water going to Livestock. >

“Many, if not most of the Tule Elk at Point Reyes are fenced into this Tomales Point area, trapped there so they can’t eat grass “leased” at outrageously subsidized rates to a few degenerate ranchers. More than two hundred of these rare elk died in a previous drought event because they were trapped, without water or forage, in this same Tomales Point area. And, the response of the National Park Service (NPS) to that previous drought event was to actually be willing to consider killing even more of these rare elk in other areas of Point Reyes, all because those few degenerate ranchers were complaining that the remnant specimens of Tule Elk were eating grass, grass within a NPS unit, that these degenerate ranchers wanted reserved for their cattle. At that time cattle were already outnumbering Tule Elk by “nearly 10 to 1” in this shamefully mismanaged NPS unit.How did this situation arise? In its enabling legislation, ranching was not intended at Point Reyes National Seashore. As indicated in other articles and comments, the federal government payed ranch owners tens of millions of dollars in American taxpayers’ money to purchase these ranches in the 1960s and 1970s, with ranch owners only retaining the right to stay for not more than 25 years or for a term ending at the death of the owner or the death of his or her spouse, whichever came later. The purchase of the ranches clearly indicates that the intent was to remove the ranching operations from the park unit lands. However, after fifty years, long after ranchers used up the time limits that they agreed to when they accepted those millions of dollars in purchase money, after all of those original ranchers have long been gone, hirelings are still being used to try to squat on the park’s valuable lands until corrupt and disingenuous political dodges and manipulations can be used to connive the lands away from the public.”

The NPS’s own NEPA analyses and documentation attest that the ranches and their operations pose significant threats, causing damage to park air and water quality, native vegetation, and wildlife; adversely affecting the experience of park visitors; and preventing visitors from accessing a third of their own public NPS lands at Point Reyes. Even worse, the cavalier and derelict dairy operations at Point Reyes have introduced often fatal Johne’s disease and spread the infection into the Tule Elk at Point Reyes. Johne’s disease is a “contagious, chronic, and usually fatal infection” caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis (MAP). This bacterium is spread by exposure to the colostrum, milk, or manure of an infected animal. The pathogen attaches to the intestinal wall of the next victim and causes an inflammatory immune response that deteriorates the victim’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients. The results are symptoms mimicking a fatal form of a chronic wasting disease. Roughly half of the dairy herds at Point Reyes have tested positive. Studies have also shown abnormally high levels of the MAP bacterium in humans suffering from Crohn’s disease. Although pasteurization should prevent its spread into the milk supply used for human consumption, the high rate of infection in the dairy herds at Point Reyes, coupled with the ease of contagion through exposure to the dried and windblown manure of poorly contained and managed dairy cattle, raises the risk of infection for both the Tule Elk population and human hikers and other visitors.As if all of this is not bad enough, the ranchers and dairy operators squatting on Point Reyes continue to complain about “their” grass being consumed by Tule Elk in the park and continue to advocate for, indeed insist on, the continuous killing of Tule Elk in the park, despite the fact that the killing of rare, native, Tule Elk for the benefit of these scoundrel ranchers runs contrary to both National Park Service and conservation biology principles. Only public outrage and outcry have limited the killing.” Comment submitted by Humphrey Ploughjogger

Take Action Now PETA’s Commentary and link to their petition, please sign!

“Point Reyes National Seashore in California was established in 1962. The government paid $50 million to purchase the land from farming and ranching families, allowing those who signed lease agreements to graze cows on parkland for 25 years.

However, conflict has arisen because three herds of tule elk—who are native to California and were reintroduced to the park in the 1970s after previously having been killed off—also graze there. To appease ranchers, the National Park Service (NPS) erected tall fences to keep elk off grazing land. One herd, designated the Tomales Point herd, is confined by a fence to a peninsula, and drought conditions have resulted in a drastic drop in water and natural food supply for these animals. Activists claim that hundreds of elk died in 2020 because the fences prohibited them from seeking food and water elsewhere. Now, the NPS is moving forward with an amendment to the park’s General Management Plan that involves killing some elk and offering another 20-year lease agreement to farming and ranching families. More than 26,000 acres would be allotted for ranching, and lessees would be allowed to maintain over 5,500 cows. Meanwhile, the Drakes Beach elk herd’s population, which numbered a mere 124 animals in 2018, would be limited to 120 animals maximum—and the Limantour herd, which numbered 174 animals in 2018, would be “managed consistent with desired conditions for the planning area,” meaning that there would be no limit to how many could be killed! Furthermore, the NPS wants to allow agricultural “diversification,” so the lessees could possibly even bring in pigs, goats, chickens, and sheep and plant row crops. Animal agriculture only serves to exacerbate drought conditions in California. It takes an average of 1,799 gallons of water to produce a pound of cow flesh and 1000 gallons of water to produce a gallon of cow’s milk. Meanwhile, the same thirsty livestock operations contaminate the water supply with manure (which contains E. coli), hormones, and antibiotics. Evidence indicates that water contamination from the ranches at Point Reyes is a problem, as bacteria levels recently tested at levels up to 300 times higher than the state health standard.
The NPS previously accepted public comments on this matter, and PETA members and supporters weighed in. However, despite hearing from around 40,000 people who asked that the elk be preserved, the NPS pushed forward and recently obtained conditional concurrence from the California Coastal Commission to proceed with this damaging plan.
Since the NPS appears dead-set on promoting livestock over wildlife, we need you to ask Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland to intervene and stop this cruel initiative. Let her know that fencing the elk off from their home range so that ranchers can graze cows is especially cruel since California is on the verge of another prolonged drought, and remind her that grazing decimates ecosystems, causing water pollution and soil erosion, spreading invasive species and disease, and harming endangered species. Ask Secretary Haaland to withhold the Record of Decision, an action that would put the NPS plan on hold pending further review.”

It’s all so ludicrous to use our public parks for Ranchers to decimate it with pollution and conditions intolerable for climate change, droughts and wildfires here in California. Thank you for caring and taking action!

Pt. Reyes if FULL OF LIVESTOCK- One of the most beautiful National Parks shouldn’t not be full of Ranchers!

Jack of Tree Spirit Project put this together, a Vigil held for all the Elk that died, with grave markers for each one.

We had a vigil for all the ELK that starved to death or died of thirst.

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