Point Reyes National Seashore Followup Case

Point Reyes National Seashore Followup Case

Current Status:

Date Filed:
Jan 10, 2022

Case Title:
Resource Renewal Institute, Center for Biological Diversity, and Western Watersheds Project v. National Park Service

Staff attorney(s):
Lizzy Potter
Laird J. Lucas
Andrew Missel


Resource Renewal Institute

Western Watersheds Project

Center for Biological Diversity

To Protect:

Point Reyes National Seashore

Tule elk


Case Information:

January 10, 2022 —Advocates for the West filed a lawsuit challenging the controversial National Park Service management plan for California’s Point Reyes National Seashore, one of a handful of national parks that permits cattle grazing.

For decades, the Park Service has leased about 28,000 acres of public lands at Point Reyes National Seashore and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area for beef and dairy ranching despite significant conflicts with natural resources, wildlife, and public recreation.

Advocates for the West — on behalf of the Resource Renewal Institute, Center for Biological Diversity and Western Watersheds Project — first sued the Park Service in 2016 for failing to update its antiquated General Management Plan and perpetuating commercial ranching in the park without adequate environmental review and public comment. The groups succeeded in requiring the Park Service to produce the first-ever Environmental Impact Statement for Point Reyes ranching.

The Park Service’s plan, developed under the Trump administration and adopted in September 2021, expands public lands zoned for ranching; quadruples the potential terms of existing grazing leases from five years to a maximum of 20 years; allows ranchers to pursue new commercial activities such as mobile slaughterhouses and row crop production; and provides for ranching to continue in perpetuity. The plan also allows the Park Service to shoot native tule elk to appease ranchers and to harass elk away from leased ranch lands.

The Park Service improperly rejected a “no ranching” alternative that would provide maximum protection for the environment — as required under the Point Reyes Act — along with reduced-ranching alternatives that would provide greater protection than the adopted plan.

Case Filings