Today, March 1st, the National Park Service released a report summarizing tremendous public support for a major national park policy decision: to protect Drakes Estero within Point Reyes National Seashore and to establish the first marine wilderness on the West Coast. Of the 52,473 people who commented on the draft Environmental Impact Statement for Drakes Estero, 92% urged full wilderness protection in 2012.
This news comes at a pivotal time: the Department of the Interior is currently deciding future management for Drakes Estero, the estuary where an existing oyster company’s operating lease is set to expire this year. Americans clearly support allowing wilderness protection for the Estero through the 1976 Point Reyes Wilderness Act. The oyster company has sought to extend its operations for at least ten years, if not in perpetuity, which would roll back wilderness preservation laws and set a dangerous precedent nationwide.